Nadal-del Potro, Thiem-Cecchinato set as matchups in French Open semifinals
Jun 13 2018 by Marjorie Miles
He's not going to give you a free point if he is up 5-0 or down 5-0.
He didn't stop there, such was his extended praise for the recently turned 32-year-old.
"But I believe I will be ready for the final".
Yet Bresnik obviously isn't throwing in the towel.
It was a first Grand Slam final for Thiem, a 24-year-old Austrian.
The Spaniard continued his extraordinary domination at Roland Garros with a ruthless 6-4 6-3 6-2 victory.
In Madrid, Thiem thrived in the quicker, higher altitude conditions to win their quarter-final in straight sets. He is 110-2 in all best-of-five matches on red clay. I felt that I was playing a little bit under more stress than usual, and he was able to take control of the point too many times.
"He's playing with big confidence, winning the Lyon Open before Roland Garros and playing some great matches here. He has the power".
He is the only man to beat Nadal on clay over the past two seasons, doing so twice.
Nadal defeated del Potro in four sets the last they met - US Open 2017 semi-final. Or at least not a blowout. A routine hold of serve by each player led to 5-2 and Nadal stepped up to serve for the set. He has undergone four wrist surgeries but the issue, thankfully, was a minor hip complaint.
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And despite a late stutter as Schwartzman saved three match points, Nadal wrapped up victory to keep alive his hopes of equalling Margaret Court's record of winning a single Grand Slam singles title 11 times.
" If I lost that tie-break it would have been a very close match I think and I didn't want that."
Del Potro certainly has the firepower to trouble Nadal.
And on the penultimate point of the semifinal, after being run ragged, the 2009 US Open victor could only offer up a smile.
The fifth seed has now beaten Cilic, who made 74 unforced errors, eight times in a row, but on Friday he will face arguably the toughest test in tennis against Nadal on Court Philippe Chatrier.
The No. 6-seeded pairing from the Czech Republic beat Eri Hozumi and Makoto Ninomiya of Japan 6-3, 6-3 on Sunday.
This was not the case during the first two tight sets between the Thiem and Cecchinato.
He is the only man to beat the world number one on clay in the last two years - in Madrid this spring and in Rome last year.
"I can not believe it now", Karin Thiem, a tennis coach, told a group of reporters. "Still, I know how to play against him". I'm not sure if Thiem and Rafa had a run in the Bois de Boulogne that Rafa would win. "But I think he's very enthusiastic".
The smile never left her face.
Nadal has not lost at Roland Garros when taking the first set and that record did not look like coming under threat as he continually rebuffed Thiem's attempts to make inroads into his serve, taking the second courtesy of an early break.
He concluded, however, by saying: "It's not easy. We have to enjoy the moment, and I will try to enjoy it tomorrow", the Argentine added.