Published: Tue, June 12, 2018
Sports | By Ivan Ross

Thiem for a change? Or same old Nadal script?

Thiem for a change? Or same old Nadal script?

The number one seed brushed aside his Argentine opponent with minimal fuss, edging the first set 6-4 before completing the win 6-1 6-2 in the heat on Court Philippe Chatrier.

But Thiem, unusually standing up to Nadal's first serve, forced two break points in the next game and converted the second with a flashing forehand into the right corner.

He looked destined to be a multiple Grand Slam champion after winning the US Open as a 20-year-old, but nearly had to quit the sport because of career-threatening wrist problems.

In the second semi-final, Nadal took two hours 14 minutes to humble Juan Martin Del Potro 6-4 6-1 6-2 to make it into his 11th French Open final and take his stat at Roland Garros to 85 wins and just two defeats.

Earlier, Thiem needed to survive a nasty bout of the jitters to see off Marco Cecchinato and reach his first Grand Slam final. For me it's incredible.

Seventh seed Thiem is the only player to have beaten Nadal on clay in the past two years, and he claimed he had a plan to thwart the Spaniard in Paris.

He has proved that he is a major threat to Nadal in best-of-three-set matches on clay, beating him three times, most recently in straight sets in the quarterfinals of the Masters 1000 event in Madrid this year. I hope to be ready to do it.

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"It was even heavier and more overcast than I even remember it being". However, after the game, Nadal revealed that he was struggling against Del Potro in the first set.

The only thing that could stop Nadal now was surely an injury.

This was the No. 5-seeded del Potro's first semifinal at Roland Garros since 2009.

The 16-time major victor saw Schwartzman take a set off him in Paris for the first time since 2015, but Nadal survived a triple break-point before an injure scare to Del Potro appeared to swing the momentum away from the world number six.

The 16-time Grand Slam champion has been in imperious form in the ongoing clay-court swing of the season, winning 24 and losing just one match.

Clay court supremo Nadal and 10-time French Open champion Nadal admitted to bout of nerves during his hard=fought quarter-final win over Argentinian underdog Diego Schwartzman.

" If I lost that tie-break it would have been a very close match I think and I didn't want that".

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"Of course it's very important to have a good recovery now". You can sign up for a free 7-day trial no matter what bundle you choose, and you can then watch the match live on your computer via the DirecTV Now website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the DirecTV Now app.

Yet Thiem's recovery was exceptional, moving out of sight with a ruthless second break and a confident hold to wrap up the opener.

But an industrious Thiem responded with a strong hold and broke back at 5-5 with a sizzling forehand victor down the line, and served out the set in just 45 minutes.

It was the first time in three years that Nadal had dropped a set in Paris.

The second set turned into a tight tactical battle with neither able to break serve.

"Not a very nice feeling", Thiem said. "It was destructive a little bit", Thiem, who won two claycourt tournaments this season, said.

Muguruza had hammered Maria Sharapova in the quarter-final but Halep was a different proposition entirely - and it seemed she knew it.

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