Nadal one win away from La Decima
Originally published on 09/06/17 00:00
The Spaniard is now just the third man in history, after Bill Tilden and Roger Federer, to reach 10 finals at one Grand Slam event.
It was another brilliant display from the 31-year-old – who has yet to drop a set in the tournament – and he will challenge Stan Wawrinka for the Coupe des Mousquetaires on Sunday.
Thiem, who defeated Nadal in their last meeting in Rome, was expected to provide the Spaniard with his first proper test of the championships, but he was soundly beaten.
The Austrian did make a bright start but he was unable to nudge ahead on the scoreboard. He paid the price for not taking his chances and the Spaniard was soon outfoxing his younger opponent.
Thiem tried to outmuscle Nadal in the first set but it was a tactic that rarely worked. The 23-year-old was constantly under pressure and his lack of patience in the baseline exchanges hurt his cause.
The Austrian persevered with his preferred attacking style in the second set and the result remained the same. Thiem may have been struggling, but Nadal and his wicked forehand were in full flight.
The Spaniard, who has never lost a clay-court match after winning the first two sets, was in complete control. Thiem’s spirit had been broken and he offered little resistance as Nadal took the third set without conceding a game.
The ‘King of Clay’ had delivered another impressive perfomance on his beloved Philippe Chatrier Court and he is the overwhelming favourite to win his first Grand Slam title in three years this weekend.
Looking ahead to his meeting with the Swiss, Nadal said, “I have been playing a great event but Stan is playing unbelievable. It will be a super hard final and I will need to play at my very best.”