Defending French Open champion Rafael Nadal says he has to be prepared to adapt his game and make his experience count when he goes up against Dominic Thiem in his 11th Roland Garros final in Paris on Sunday.
The 32-year-old Spaniard, with 16 majors to his name, is to play his 24th Grand Slam final at Roland Garros against Dominic Thiem, who is playing his first.
Patrick Mouratoglou, coach of Serena Williams and commentator for Eurosport, believes Thiem has the game to upset Nadal, but he'll need to execute his game plan perfectly.
Can Thiem take at least two sets from Nadal on Sunday, and in the process, offer up Nadal's first challenge on a big stage in months?
Del Potro needed only two points to pocket the first set as Cilic blinked first, netting a routine forehand a 5-6.
The Austrian was in control of his semi-final against the world number 72, holding three set points in a tie-break for a 2-0 lead.
"Rafa is playing every point better from the beginning until the last point of the match, and his intensity grows during the match", explained Del Potro.
The Spaniard has never lost a final at Roland Garros with his win-loss record on Parisian Clay being 85-2.
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"It was someone who made a loud [sound] before my serve, and I made [a] double fault", Del Potro said.
She improved in the second set, breaking early on only to be pegged back at 4-4 before Halep held a marathon ninth game and broke for a 6-1 6-4 win. For sure he is beatable, but you have to have the level, and Dominic has the level and you have to play the ideal match and the most important thing is you can't miss the occasions that you have.
Tseng Chun-hsin of Taiwan has won the boys' title at the French Open by defeating top-seeded Sebastian Baez of Brazil 7-6 (7/5), 6-2. Good thing is I played a lot of good matches this clay-court season. He is also convinced that Thiem will not come out "as flat" as he did in last year's semifinal, which came after Thiem had defeated Djokovic in the quarterfinals.
'If you lose, you lose, but I'm going to play with my highest passion and love for the game and for the sport, to try to have success.
Nadal added Wimbledon crowns in 2008 and 2010, an Australian Open title in 2009 and completed the career Grand Slam in 2010 by defeating Djokovic in the US Open final, becoming the youngest in the Open era (since 1967) to complete the four-event career sweep.
Ominously for Thiem, Nadal said: "My feeling is I have a very hard match against a player that is playing great".
"He's a big favorite against everybody", said Thiem, who reached his first Grand Slam final by ending the out-of-nowhere run of 72nd-ranked Marco Cecchinato of Italy 7-5, 7-6 (10), 6-1. "I think he likes the conditions more here than in Madrid, for sure, and best of five is also a different story".
"When (Thiem) is dominating the point, he is very unsafe. So Sunday is the day to give my best, is the day to increase my level even a little bit more".
"I'm really happy that I won this Grand Slam".