Rafael Nadal is on course to play his 11th French Open final on Sunday, against Dominic Thiem. He’s had a brilliant run the entire clay court season, having lost only once, to the same man he’ll play the final against. He played Juan Martin del Porto and defeated him 6-4,6-1,6-2. Such was the performance of the Spaniard, that even del Potro was full of praise for him.
“It is almost impossible to beat Rafa. He’s too strong. He’s improving his backhand a lot. That’s why he’s the No 1 and beating all the guys,” said Del Potro.
“He looks fresh. He is healthy. And the strength that he has and the mentality – everything is perfect, works perfect for him playing on clay.”
“If he continues with this desire, he can win many more times, like Federer for Wimbledon, and other major tournaments,” he added.
“Ten years ago, it was Rafa and Roger, and now it’s always the same. So they always win the big tournaments.
“It just speaks to their virtues in terms of tennis, physical and mental strength.”
While the semifinal was expected to be a close encounter, it was quit the opposite. Nadal thrashed the Argentine, who was playing in a grand slam semfinal the first time since getting injured three years back.
The battle between Thiem and Nadal will be an interesting one to look out for. Thiem is the only player to have beaten Nadal on clay in the past two years. He beat him this year at the Madrid Masters.
Anticipating the challenge of Nadal, Thiem earlier spoke of having devised a plan in case he meets him in the finals.
“I have a plan. If it’s going to be him on Sunday, I will try everything that my plan also going to work out a little bit here and not only in Madrid or in Rome. If I want to beat him, I have to play that way like I did in Rome and in Madrid.” – Thiem said