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Published: Mon, June 11, 2018
Sport | By Billy Aguilar

Rafael Nadal beats Dominic Thiem for 11th French Open, 17th Slam title

Rafael Nadal beats Dominic Thiem for 11th French Open, 17th Slam title

Nadal retained the momentum in the second set, breaking his opponent in the second game and holding out to edge closer to yet another title at Roland Garros.

There have, however, appeared to be one or two chinks in Nadal's armour at Roland Garros this year.

Wilander believes Thiem can worry Nadal if he is prepared to "take risks" like Diego Schwartzman did in the quarter-finals when he snapped the left-hander's run of 37 consecutive completed sets won at the French Open by snatching the opener.

Spain's Nadal will meet Dominic Thiem in Sunday's final.

The younger challengers struggle to land a punch, and the last six men's Grand Slam titles have now gone in the sequence of Federer-Nadal-Federer-Nadal-Federer-Nadal.

Thiem will start as the underdog in his first major final, but the 24-year-old has beaten his 32-year-old opponent on clay.

Thiem had struggled to match the quality of Nadal and he had hoped to take advantage of the set-back. He persists at his punishing physicality and pounding shots even 13 long and grinding years after the wonder from the Spanish island of Mallorca debuted at Roland Garros with sleeveless shirts, clam-digger shorts, shoulder-length hair and MMA muscles, and, two days after his 19th birthday, won his first title and said, "I fight every point, every point, no?" However, here past year in the semi-finals, Nadal destroyed Thiem, losing just seven games in a rout, but it is worth mentioning that Thiem triumphed in their last meeting in Madrid last month, in the quarter-finals.

"I think it helps, definitely, knowing that you were the last guy to beat him", said Bresnik, whose association with Thiem spans more than 15 years.

"That", del Potro would say later, "was my chance".

"He's an incredible player", Nadal said of Thiem. "I have a plan and". Over the past two years, including best-of-three matches, the Spaniard is 49-2 at clay tournaments. Cecchinato was accused of match-fixing and suspended for 18 months in 2016, but he appealed, and his punishment was dropped on a technicality.

The pivotal part of the match was the second-set tiebreaker in which both men played superbly - and both had chances to end it. Thiem went ahead 6-3, but wasted three set points there, including a bad volley into the net at 6-4 that left him chewing ruefully on his left index finger.

"Not a very nice feeling", Thiem said. Thiem, ranked No. 7 in the world, upset second-ranked German Alexander Zverev, winning in straight sets to advance to the final. The Austrian earned a place in his first grand-slam final with a 7-5, 7-6 (12-10), 6-1 victory over Italy's Marco Cecchinato.

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