Rafael Nadal 'would love to have 20' like Roger Federer

Highlights Stephens overcome Keys in last four

Highlights Stephens overcome Keys in last four

Sunday at the French Open sees Rafa Nadal and Dominic Thiem take to the courts in the men's singles final, and our tennis columnist, Dan Weston, is back to preview the encounter.

Australia's Margaret Court is the only other player to have won the same major - the Australian Open - 11 times. However, here previous year in the semi-finals, Nadal destroyed Thiem, losing just seven games in a rout, but it is worth mentioning that Thiem triumphed in their last meeting in Madrid last month, in the quarter-finals.

It's hard to look at a 12-time Grand Slam champion and not compare him to what he was, but Novak Djokovic nearly needs to be viewed as a different player since his return from both personal issues and injuries.

Despite there being a wave of momentum now carrying the Spaniard following such a deserved win over Thiem, Nadal's most hard task of the year is yet to come at Wimbledon.

The final set isn't your traditional set, but rather a super tie-break which is a race to 10 points with a difference of at least two points.

Tennis Super Star Rafael Nadal has again proved his mantle as the King of Clay.

Nadal struck first in an enthralling opening set, breaking Thiem's first service game to take a two-game lead but they were back on serve immediately as the Austrian hit back. And of course, with it being on clay, Nadal is an overwhelming favorite.

Slow starts have plagued Nadal in several of his matches this fortnight, most notably against 11th-Diego Schwartzman in the quarterfinals.

'And then you have to be happy with the things that are happening to you, no?

Rafael Nadal showed mental toughness in his final to overcome cramp. He caused a sensation in Rome past year by handing the Spaniard the first defeat of his clay season.

He has come close in Paris before, losing in the semifinals a year ago (to Nadal) and in 2016 (to Novak Djokovic). The losses came against Thiem at Rome in May 2017 and at Madrid last month. "It's the best of five sets in humid conditions with maybe rain later on.A 24-year-old should be fitter than a 32-year-old". Serving at less than 50%, Nadal got plenty of looks at second serves. A spate of poor play quickly saw him lose the first three games of the set. Nadal, Federer, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray - the so-called Big Four - have dominated the men's game to such a degree that Thiem is only the second player now younger than 28 to have reached a major singles final.

Thiem was under the cosh, saving four break points in the first game of the third set before Nadal inevitably broke for 2-1.

His lone opportunity of the set indeed vanished. The Austrian has improved on the return serves here to equalise the game. He removed the tape from his left wrist - the Mallorcan suffered a wrist injury that ruled him out in the first week of the 2016 edition - and the trainer came out again at 3-2.

Yet he just wouldn't be denied.

Recommended News

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.