Updates: Nadal Leads Thiem In Roland Garros Final
NEWS SOURCE: ATP News
For the second straight year, Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem are battling for the Roland Garros title. Nadal leads 6-3 after taking a highly-entertaining opening set.
The Spaniard enters the final with an 8-4 lead in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series and is seeking an unprecedented 12th title in Paris. He has dropped just one set entering the encounter, having earned consecutive Top 10 wins over Kei Nishikori and Roger Federer to arrive at championship Sunday. Victory would see him secure an 18th major title, moving to within two of Federer’s record haul.
For Thiem, this marks the Austrian’s second Grand Slam final appearance. But despite falling to Nadal in the 2018 title match, the fourth seed will take great confidence from his semi-final victory in Barcelona in April, en route to clinching the title. He would stop Nadal from clinching a 12th title at his home hunting ground, and is hoping history repeats itself on Sunday at Roland Garros.
It was in that Barcelona clash that Thiem beat Nadal at his own game, using his forehand to open the court and create space for his finishing shots. His depth enabled him to find the sharpest of angles and employ a highly aggressive gameplan.
Having completed his rain-delayed five-set semi-final victory over Novak Djokovic on Saturday afternoon, fatigue was a concern for the Thiem camp entering the final. But the 25-year-old dispelled any notion of exhaustion as play commenced under bright skies on Court Philippe Chatrier. Matching Nadal in intensity from first ball, he went for his shots and would earn the initial break for 3-2. Running around his backhand, he rifled a forehand into the open court to surge ahead.
Thiem continued his dogged defence as the set wore on, but Nadal responded in kind, striking his forehand with conviction to break right back. It was a high-level opening frame, with both players trading blistering blows from the baseline and demonstrating their deft touch aroud the net. Through the first seven games, they produced 21 rallies over nine shots. Nadal would hit his top gear to break for a second time and seize the opening set – his 10th straight against Thiem – after 54 minutes.
POSTED ON June 9, 2019