French Open Final: [1] Rafa Nadal vs [7] Dominic Thiem

How’s it go?

  • Thieminator in 3

    Votes: 10 6.1%
  • Thiem’s time is now in 4

    Votes: 22 13.4%
  • Domi shows supreme mental strength in 5

    Votes: 12 7.3%
  • Bull rushes to victory in 3

    Votes: 60 36.6%
  • Rafa crushes puny ball basher in 4

    Votes: 41 25.0%
  • Rafa trolls Fed fans in 5

    Votes: 2 1.2%
  • Rain ruins another match

    Votes: 4 2.4%
  • Mury GOAT

    Votes: 1 0.6%
  • Just get this over with so we can get the grass season started!

    Votes: 6 3.7%
  • Anyone but Zverev

    Votes: 6 3.7%

  • Total voters
    164

icedevil0289

G.O.A.T.
He’s so lovely to listen to! :p
It’s gonna be hard to watch him lose, he’s too likeable. :oops:

first of all I love how he was like if nadal wins, how sweet of him that he gave del potro a chance. 2nd, I do like how he said that it is rafa who has more pressure since thiem has nothing to do lose. there is a slight difference imo in his attitude between this year and last year's semis. His words obviously will mean very little if he can't back them up with play but hey here's hoping he does his best.
 

icedevil0289

G.O.A.T.
NYT:


ON TENNIS

In Dominic Thiem, Rafael Nadal Faces a New French Open Challenge

By Christopher Clarey

  • June 8, 2018
PARIS — On his favorite tennis court, Rafael Nadal was struggling on Friday. He looked hesitant and edgy, as if he might not be able to finish what he had started.

But this had nothing to do with winning or losing his French Open semifinal against Juan Martín del Potro, whom Nadal had just manhandled, 6-4, 6-1, 6-2, to earn a spot in the final against Dominic Thiem.

This was about Nadal, the pride of Spain, trying to do his postmatch interview in French.

He stopped short for a long moment, searching for words, then nodded his head with renewed determination and reeled off the rest of a response.

“I’m very happy to return to the final at Roland Garros,” he said. “For me, it’s incredible.”

For everyone else, however, it has become as normal as the Seine flowing under the Pont des Arts. Nadal is a part of the Paris landscape now; his success at Roland Garros is a rite of spring.

The struggle to answer in French on Friday — he remains much more comfortable in English as a second language — looked a lot more nerve-racking than some of his matches.

But Nadal, 32, is nothing if not a hard worker who loves a challenge, and even if winning another French Open would hardly be a novelty, that should not diminish the achievement.

“He is, for me, the best competitor I ever saw in any sport, and I watch sport a lot for many, many years,” said Günter Bresnik, Thiem’s 57-year-old coach. “Nadal’s capable of keeping this very aggressive, high-intensity level over an unbelievably long period of time. And he practices that way, too. There is no difference between practices and matches. I always hear from players that in a match they will do it differently, but if you don’t practice that way, you are not going to do it in the heat of the battle. And Nadal has been doing it for years and years and years.”

Nadal will be chasing his 11th singles title here on Sunday, if rain does not push the final to next week. A victory over Thiem would allow him to equal Margaret Court’s career record of 11 singles titles in one major tournament. (Court won hers at the Australian Open, bridging the amateur and professional eras.)

But this year’s final is already different from any of Nadal’s previous 10 in Paris or any of his 13 other Grand Slam finals.

He is at last facing someone from a younger tennis generation instead of contemporaries like Novak Djokovic, 31, or an elder like Roger Federer, who will turn 37 in August.

The seventh-seeded Thiem, a 24-year-old Austrian, is, along with Alexander Zverev, one of the leaders of the new wave in men’s tennis. Of players under 28, only Thiem and Milos Raonic, 27, have reached major singles finals. Raonic lost in the 2016 Wimbledon final to Andy Murray.

If Thiem wins on Sunday, he will be the youngest man to win at Roland Garros since Nadal won at 24 in 2010.

He has proved that he is a major threat to Nadal in best-of-three-set matches on clay, beating him three times, most recently in straight sets in the quarterfinals of the Masters 1000 event in Madrid this year.

“For sure, I can take some things off that,” Thiem said. “If I want to beat him, I have to play that way, like I did in Rome and in Madrid. But I’m also aware that here it’s tougher. He likes the conditions more here than in Madrid, for sure.”

Thiem has yet to prove that he can stay with Nadal in a best-of-five-set match, losing in the second round of the French Open in 2014, 6-2, 6-2, 6-3, and again in the French Open semifinals last year by the lopsided and deflating score of 6-3, 6-4, 6-0 after plenty of prematch buildup.

Now Thiem is back for another attempt after navigating a draw that included the 19th-seeded Kei Nishikori, the second-seeded Zverev and on Friday, the unseeded Italian surprise Marco Cecchinato in a semifinal that Thiem won, 7-5, 7-6 (10), 6-1, after saving three set points in the second-set tiebreaker.

“He’s a big favorite against anybody,” Thiem said of Nadal. “Still, I know how to play against him. I have a plan.”

Most men who face Nadal have a plan. The problem is executing it. Nadal is an astounding 85-2 at Roland Garros, his only defeats coming against Robin Soderling in the fourth round in 2009 and against Djokovic in the quarterfinals in 2015.

The conventional wisdom is that the only way to prevail is to take time away from him, to attack at the first decent opportunity before Nadal strikes first or locks his opponent into a geometric inferno by controlling the baseline exchanges with his whipping forehand and excellent two-handed backhand.

Thiem does indeed have punching power, both with his serve and his groundstrokes, the forehand doing most of the damage. But he is also most comfortable positioning himself deep behind the baseline, which allows Nadal more time to get organized and react. Thiem will have to produce tremendous quality and depth for hours to have a chance to join Soderling’s and Djokovic’s exclusive club.

“Nadal, in Paris, best-of-five, is still half a class above Dominic, half a level too good,” said Bresnik, who has coached Thiem since Thiem was 9.

With that in mind, Bresnik said he did not anticipate a victory for his pupil this year.

“That does not mean I would not love to be wrong,” he said.

He does see new maturity in Thiem, more controlled aggression on critical points and more skill on the attack. 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.

“It was a poor performance,” Bresnik said. “And I think at that time Dominic had still problems to play against two great players in a row.”

Bresnik likes Thiem’s current state of mind and form after encouraging him to play at the low-level ATP event in Lyon, France, the week before Roland Garros. Thiem ended up winning the title.

Bresnik has taken plenty of flak through the years for pushing Thiem to play such a dense tournament schedule, but the coach has long insisted that it is part of a master plan to build a resilient champion.

“Everybody calls me an idiot, maybe even for good reason,” Bresnik said. “But I like this. And I’m really happy to prove the people wrong, because all the guys who practiced the week or 10 days before Roland Garros, they are already at home for a week.

“Dominic played four matches in Lyon, came here Saturday late at night with the train, practiced the next day and played on Monday. People said: ‘It’s stupid. He’s not going to last.’ But my idea behind this is that to prepare people for handling high pressure, physically and mentally, you have to put them under pressure, well dosed, not too much and not too little, but under pressure.”

But as the record so clearly shows, no one has ever applied more physical and mental pressure for so long to opponents on clay than Nadal.

“As long as Rafa is healthy, it will be very difficult to beat him here,” del Potro said on Friday. “And if he can maintain his desire, I think he can win many more times.”

This year, for a change, it is up to the younger generation to try to stop him.


sigh..as fed fan I know that all too well.
 

icedevil0289

G.O.A.T.
Berdych - He came from two sets down against Berdych in his prime at AO 2009 to win in five, and lost to him at Wimbledon also, granted Federer's form was poor, but it is still grass and he is grass GOAT...so how exactly is that Berdych loss so bad, when he was beaten by him on grass, and nearly at AO also?

Robredo - Sure it was bad, but didn't he lose to just about everyone that year? He had an even worse performance at Wimbledon, and had only won one title all year. He was no form to win ANY slam in 2013.

Cilic - The guy blew Federer off the court, the way Sampras was blown off by Safin in USO 00. Players can zone, and Cilic was zoning.

How is losing to Djokovic in 2015 considered LOLworthy? seriously?

A young Del Potro beat a fit, in his prime Federer at USO 2009, is it so shocking that Del Potro can beat an injured Federer there also?

thankfully fed has added to his slam tally so I can look back at that 2013 USO and laugh but damn back then I was like wtf. tbh combo of the surface changing over time that perhaps with fed with his age and current style of play is not able to take advantage and well i know age shouldn't be used an excuse since hey he just won a freaking slam in January, but it being tge last slam I guess makes it that much harder. I always did want to see him win under the lights or w/e just one more time. i know greedy, but can't help it.
 
V

Vamos Rafa Nadal

Guest
One of the reasons I believe Rafa will prevail has to do with their differing results today: while they both won in straight sets Thiem struggled more against #72 Marco Cecchinato and Rafa struggled very little & was able to erase all of the break points against him from Del Potro, who I would argue was the 2nd best player at the tournament this year (Rafa being the best player).

I love both players and am thrilled to finally have my dream final to enjoy on Sunday! :)
 

TennisFan3

Talk Tennis Guru
Nadal in straight sets. If the conditions are damp and slow, then Thiem might snag a set, but I would be very surprised if he manages to beat Nadal.

Thiem might be the most impressive player in the tournament, but unless Nadal plays the worst slam final of his life, Thiem cannot hang with the Spaniard mentally or even game wise.

The forecast for Sunday calls for cool conditions and showers. That might be the only saving grace for Thiem. If it gets sunny, it will be a blowout.
 

ADuck

Legend
Don’t get me wrong, even last week I noted that in no other profession would this be the case. If Thiem brings the goods, you know, if the fans are bigging him up people on Twitter, he would most definitely be the favourite. Unfortunately, Nadal's Vamos and bamos will be viewed as self-serving and allow people to dismiss the actual real subject, which is why I can only see one winner.

Bottom line, we're at Roland Garros and Rafa Nadal is most definitely the guy here. It's going to take a Misawa type effort from Thiem and well.....

latest
Who is that guy?

Dom to go down tamely in straights, with at least one breadstick set. He hasn't the mental strength to possibly defeat Rafa in his first slam final. I couldn't believe how many people thought Del Po had a chance in the semis and Del Po is stronger mentally (and with much more experience) than Thiem.
Wait, weren't you one of the people saying Del Potro could beat Nadal earlier this clay season?
 

Rickenbacker4003

Hall of Fame
Der Dominic Thiem Methode is engineered to win the French. This is literally what Thiem has built himself for. And with his recent straight-set win over Rafa, you can bet Nadal isn't taking it lightly.
It’s the French Open final and slam #17 on Sunday, I could be playing in the final Rafa is gonna take it seriously.
 

ewiewp

Hall of Fame
Nadal in straight sets. If the conditions are damp and slow, then Thiem might snag a set, but I would be very surprised if he manages to beat Nadal.

Thiem might be the most impressive player in the tournament, but unless Nadal plays the worst slam final of his life, Thiem cannot hang with the Spaniard mentally or even game wise.

The forecast for Sunday calls for cool conditions and showers. That might be the only saving grace for Thiem. If it gets sunny, it will be a blowout.

Sounds like right assessments. But 1st day of Diego match is puzzling. So the rumour says he had stomach problem that day?
 
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TennisFan3

Talk Tennis Guru
Sounds like right assessments. But 1st day of Diego match is puzzling. So the rum our says he had stomach problem that day?
I doubt it was any health issues. It's just the conditions, age and pressure. Obviously, Nadal's spin causes much less damage in cold, wet conditions.

But more importantly, it's the pressure. Imagine having to live up to a legend year after year. Not only do people expect Nadal to win every match on clay, but to do so in straight sets. So Rafa IMO feels nerves much more than before. This manifests into safe play and defensive tendencies.

The 2 ways that Nadal gets out of this is first he loses the set and he has no option but to be aggressive in order to save the match. Second, he somehow manages to still win the set while playing bad. Sort of like the first set in Delpo match today. That frees him as he feels that if he can still win by playing bad, he can throw caution to the wind and go on offense.

As Nadal ages, the tight starts and chokes under pressure will become a more regular feature of his game. When you are at the top, you have the most to lose and only one way to go...(down).
 

ewiewp

Hall of Fame
I doubt it was any health issues. It's just the conditions, age and pressure. Obviously, Nadal's spin causes much less damage in cold, wet conditions.

But more importantly, it's the pressure. Imagine having to live up to a legend year after year. Not only do people expect Nadal to win every match on clay, but to do so in straight sets. So Rafa IMO feels nerves much more than before. This manifests into safe play and defensive tendencies.

The 2 ways that Nadal gets out of this is first he loses the set and he has no option but to be aggressive in order to save the match. Second, he somehow manages to still win the set while playing bad. Sort of like the first set in Delpo match today. That frees him as he feels that if he can still win by playing bad, he can throw caution to the wind and go on offense.

As Nadal ages, the tight starts and chokes under pressure will become a more regular feature of his game. When you are at the top, you have the most to lose and only one way to go...(down).

Yeah I notice he increasingly become slower starter as he ages. And he probably more pressured this year after Aussie open and injuries early part of this year.

I still think he was in pretty bad condition on 1st day of the quarter whether that can be classified as "health" issue or not.
If it was mostly aging symptoms and pressures, I think he will struggle more with young springy Thiem.
 

FedTheMan

Professional
Thiem has to be mentally strong and not allow Nadal to get into his head. He has to believe in his shots and not just blast away but have patience. Nadal is a master of clay court tennis and he perfected how to carefully construct points by tiring out opponents, drawing them in with a drop shot or waiting for a weak reply to put away.

Nadal in a RG final is the hardest test in tennis. However, he is older now and Thiem has a small chance. Nadal will most likely win. However, I am hoping for Thiem in 5 sets.
 

ScottleeSV

Hall of Fame
Thiem has a reasonable chance to win. Not a great one, necessarily, like I felt Novak had going into the 2012 or 2014 finals. But he certainly doesn't fall into the 'no hope' category I felt that Wawrinka and Ferrer were in prior to their finals with Rafa.

Five keys to the match for me...

1) Can Thiem stop Nadal going into that no pressure zone he clearly went into once he realised Del Potro wasn't at the races, and thus he started playing great?

2) If the chips are down for Thiem i.e he loses a tight set 7-6 that lasts 90 minutes, will he keep his chin up and keep going, or capitulate like he did last year after going down 6-4 6-3?

3) Will he take as long to adapt to grand slam finals as he did to grand slam semi finals?

4) How will Thiem play break points? Nadal's opponents have been shocking when having break points this fortnight.

5) Will Lyon finally catch up to Thiem?
 

D.Nalby12

G.O.A.T.
First set and half will be crucial for Thiem. Nadal is having slow starts so far. Diego broke him five times in first seven service games. Even subpar Potro had 7 BP opportunities. Surely Thiem will get those too. He just need to be clutch on big points in first 90 minutes and he will at least have chance to win. Otherwise with slow, choking start he will go down in straights.

Best for him - Go for his shots from very first point, avoid out grinding Nadal. Serve well. He could be set and break up if everything goes well. After that hope there will be No rain delays.
 
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D

Deleted member 77403

Guest
thankfully fed has added to his slam tally so I can look back at that 2013 USO and laugh but damn back then I was like wtf. tbh combo of the surface changing over time that perhaps with fed with his age and current style of play is not able to take advantage and well i know age shouldn't be used an excuse since hey he just won a freaking slam in January, but it being tge last slam I guess makes it that much harder. I always did want to see him win under the lights or w/e just one more time. i know greedy, but can't help it.

Doesn't make you any different from any other fan really.
 

D.Nalby12

G.O.A.T.
I don't believe Thiem. He will come out flat Imo. Pressure of playing first Slam final against best big match player ever might buckle him even before he comes on court.

I say best luck to him. May his head never betray him.
 

toby55555

Hall of Fame
Unless your willing to bet your account on a Thiem victory I don't want to hear a thing about how "dangerous" he is or how this is going to be Nadal's "toughest challenge" blah blah blah. This mug will be lucky to win a set and that's the facts. Fast forward to the trophy presentation so we can get on to grass season please.
Well if you want some grass tennis Dan Evans on his comeback plays his S/F v Chardy 12pm at Surbiton today. Streamed on the ATP website in the Challengers section. He beat Melzer yesterday and I’m sure he’ll be back in the top 100 by the end of the year.
 

D.Nalby12

G.O.A.T.
Positives for Thiem -

1. Enjoying physical peak. Has movement, athleticism and speed to hang with Nadal on clay.
2. Firepower on both wings. With clay his surface can grind his way too.
3. Already has defeated Nadal three times on clay.
4. His backhand holds better against high topspin shots than most other on tour.
 

Fedole

Semi-Pro
At least with Thiem you know he won't be broken physically. The question is if he goes down a set can he keep striving mentally to reach his best level? FWIW I think if he loses the 1st set Nadal is 99.9% to win so its an absolute must that he wins it.
 

Fedole

Semi-Pro
Well if you want some grass tennis Dan Evans on his comeback plays his S/F v Chardy 12pm at Surbiton today. Streamed on the ATP website in the Challengers section. He beat Melzer yesterday and I’m sure he’ll be back in the top 100 by the end of the year.
Ah go on Dan, good to see him back. Will give that a watch
 
D

Deleted member 756486

Guest
Tennis is even worst than cycling these days where Froome is still allowed to compete
Can you change your avi to Nadal plz? Last time you changed your avi to Diego and he lost..

Just thinking ahead of this, millions of factors have to go right for Domi to win.
 

I Am Finnish

Bionic Poster
Positives for Thiem -

1. Enjoying physical peak. Has movement, athleticism and speed to hang with Nadal on clay.
2. Firepower on both wings. With clay his surface can grind his way too.
3. Already has defeated Nadal three times on clay.
4. His backhand holds better against high topspin shots than most other on tour.
No negative things?
 

Fedole

Semi-Pro
First set and half will be crucial for Thiem. Nadal is having slow starts so far. Diego broke him five times in first seven service games. Even subpar Potro had 7 BP opportunities. Surely Thiem will get those too. He just need to be clutch on big points in first 90 minutes and he will at least have chance to win. Otherwise with slow, choking start he will go down in straights.

Best for him - Go for his shots from very first point, avoid out grinding Nadal. Serve well. He could be set and break up if everything goes well. After that hope there will be No rain delays.
Good assessment I think. Nadal definitely does start slow.
 

HolgerNova

New User
I don't think any players on tour would stand a "good" chance against rafa in the finals tomorrow, but if you had to pick one player I think it would be Thiem. I think the main thing is he has the athleticism, endurance and the go for broke mentality that you need to beat Nadal on clay. He's very hit or miss, but at least when he's on he's capable of beating [this version] of Nadal on clay. Nadal aint what he used to be even though he's still the best in the world on clay. Just thinking of that point v. Stepanek in Rome '05 at how athletic Nadal used to be.
 

Meles

Bionic Poster
Hey @Meles we need your take on this match soon! The jinx gods grow impatient.
Waiting for @Meles prediction
I think Nadal has this as the rain and really heavy conditions look like they won't arrive until JUST after the match. Nadal should be bouncing the ball at the normal six feet which gets it out of Thiem's strike zone. Thiem's only hope for this match is to grind with Nadal as much as possible and out spin him. At six feet bounce height Thiem simply will not be able to hit through the ball. Now if Thiem could make the initial sets last 90 minutes each lets say:rolleyes:, then maybe the weather will get heavy like Rome and he'll have a shot like your fav Zedrot. Thiem also taking the first set would do the same thing and he was in the first set at least last year and is 28-0 in his 2018 matches after winning a first set when he's not playing on a fractured ankle.;)
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stringertom

Bionic Poster
Delpo's quarter was a joke so you should've just thrown this up after set two of Thiem v Cecch.:cool:
So, should I watch tomorrow? Please tell me you're in the Nadal corner so there's a reason for hope, a Jim Carrey-thin chance for Thiem-inator???
 
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