Rafa Nadal one win away from 10th French Open title
Spanish claycourt specialist ends run of Dominic Thiem in Paris
Spain’s Rafael Nadal celebrates after beating Austria’s Dominic Thiem in their French Open semi-final at Roland Garros in Paris. Photograph: Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images
Thiem went into the match fresh from his stunning upset of defending champion Novak Djokovic and looking for a second successive win against Nadal.
But Philippe Chatrier is the Spaniard’s stage and Thiem found Nadal a very different opponent to the one he met at the Italian Open in Rome last month.
Nadal was simply far too good and heads into Sunday’s final against Stan Wawrinka having not dropped a set in the tournament after a 6-3 6-4 6-0 victory.
The pair did not step begin their match until gone 6pm after Wawrinka’s epic five-set victory over Andy Murray.
There had been speculation about whether they would be able to finish on Friday but that did not prove to be a problem.
After reaching the semi-finals here last year, Thiem has really come of age this season, with only Nadal having a better clay campaign.
The 23-year-old Austrian had also reached the last four without dropping a set and broke serve in the opening game.
That was to be the only time he was ahead. Nadal reeled off four straight games, soaking up Thiem’s power and returning it with interest.
Time and again Thiem threw everything he had at Nadal but there was no way past.
Thiem did well to stay as close as he did in the first and second sets but by the third Nadal was completely unstoppable.
The 31-year-old has lost just 29 games in six matches, only one fewer than the Open era record held by Bjorn Borg in 1978.