Nadal Returns To French Open Final, Will Face Wawrinka Who Outlasts Murray In 5
by Sean Randall | June 9th, 2017, 7:00 pm
  • 51 Comments

It’s set, Rafael Nadal and Stan Wawrinka will meet Sunday for the French Open final!

Earlier today, Nadal absolutely dominated Dominic Thiem 6-3, 6-4, 6-0 to reach his 10th final on the grounds of Roland Garros.

The match started out a little shaky for the 9-time champ who had just lost to Thiem last month in Rome – Thiem won the same number of games as then, but this time over three sets.

Rafa was broken right away but was able to break right back. The points were long as were the games. And with a late start just past 6pm, there was some talk the match might not get completed by nightfall.

Nadal, though, took care of that issue promptly. He went up 3-1 in the first then coasted to a 6-3 set. It was another tight start in set two with Thiem trying to make a surge, but Nadal was up to the challenge fending off the Austrian’s charge.

Rafa got another early break and behind a serve that became almost untouchable at times, cruised to a two-set lead.

In the third, another quick break all but sealed it for Rafa, as if there was any doubt. Rafa ran off the final seven games to earn his 22nd Grand Slam victory in 25 attempts. And through six matches he’s only lost 29 games, the fewest he’s dropped en route to a Slam final (though he did get that retirement from Pablo Carreno Busta).

It was another near-perfect performance and a reminder of just how much better he is than everyone else on clay.

“I started a little bit more nervous today than normal, but then I played well, I think,” Nadal said. “It’s true that Dominic played with more mistakes than usual, probably.

“At the same time it was windy out there, and he didn’t play in the center court before that match. Probably that was not helping him. In general, to be in the final again here probably the most important event in my career means a lot to me, no? I’m just very, very happy for everything, and I’m going to try my best on Sunday.”

Toward the end of the match we saw Nadal in full flight, just destroying Thiem. And Thiem, regarded by many as the second best on the dirt, was having difficulty just winning points. It was love game after love game it seemed.

“I think he played a good match today. I was not on top of my game and that was the result everybody saw,” said Thiem who has lost in straight sets in both French semifinal matches. “It’s nice to be in the semis again, but now I’m really disappointed because I just couldn’t play the way I wanted to. I don’t know why yet, so I have to find some reasons. It was a good clay court season, but a very bad ending for me.”

Perhaps things would have been different had Thiem converted early, thought that’s a longshot. Nadal served incredibly well, winning 76% on second serves to 71% on first! That’s crazy.

Rafa was 6/10 on break chances while Thiem only 1/8. And Rafa was 23-22 winners-unforced, Thiem 21-34. And the Austrian was killed on his second serving winning just 37%. That’s not going to work.

“He was a little bit unlucky, in my opinion,” said Nadal. “He didn’t convert the chances, and that changed completely the match. These kind of matches, you don’t get that opportunities, then you are in trouble, no? He had opportunities in the first, opportunities at the beginning of the second, and then I think I played well, no? I played a solid match and was tougher for him.”

To Thiem’s credit, he tried to mix things up by going to the drop shot, but that strategy fell flat.

Rafa now looks ahead to Sunday and for a 10th French Open and his 15th career Grand Slam, and to get it he’ll have to beat Wawrinka, a man who is a perfect 3-0 in Slam finals.

Wawrinka, though, didn’t look like a guy who would make it to Sunday early on against Andy Murray. In a rematch from last year, it was Murray again denying Wawrinka early on. Frustrating the Swiss by making him hit that extra ball, that extra overhead. And time and time again, it worked.

To no one’s surprise, Wawrinka was forcing the issue from both wings, and even serve. Murray, though, was playing some of the best defense we’ve seen.

So back and forth they went. Wawrinka would get on a run, Murray would fight back. Murray would seize control, then Stan would fight back.

As if played out, Stan squandered a chance to serve out the first and Murray made him pay. Stan collected himself and scraped out the second before Murray regained control in a hard-fought third.

In the fourth, it looked like Murray would gain the upper hand, but neither played could take the lead until the breaker. And Stan took it winning 5 of the last 6 points.

Then in stunning fashion, he destroyed Murray to start the fifth racing out to a 5-0 lead then eventually slammed the door for a 6-7(8), 6-3, 5-7, 7-6(3), 6-1 victory in just over 4 hours, 30 minutes.

“I’m really happy to be in the final,” said Wawrinka who is now 4-1 vs Murray on clay. “I think it was quite a tough match today. A big battle. I want to enjoy it a lot, because, as I say, it’s not all the time you can say you’re going to play a final of a Grand Slam, especially in Paris. I really want to enjoy that.”

Wawrinka finished with 87 winners, to 77 unforced – think about that, 87 winners against a guy who plays defense as good as Murray does!

“For sure it was amazing match I felt on the court,” said Wawrinka. “I enjoyed playing this match. For sure when you win it’s better after. We had some crazy points with some good rallies, with some good level of tennis. And to play a semi-final here, at the French Open against Andy, No. 1 in the world, that’s something really special, so for sure I enjoy it.”

Meanwhile, the World No. 1 was just 36-to-36 in winners to errors and by the end all the legwork on defense may have taken its toll.

“I’m proud of the tournament I had,” said Murray. “I did well considering. I was one tie-break away from getting to the final when I came in really struggling. So I have to be proud of that.

“Maybe the lack of matches hurt me a little bit in the end today. That was a very high intensity match. A lot of long points. When you haven’t been playing loads, over four-and-a-half hours, that can catch up to you a little bit. I only have myself to blame for that, for the way I played coming into the tournament.

“But I turned my form around really, really well and ended up having a good tournament, all things considered.”

For Murray, he played Stan tough and got a good win over Kei Nishikori. So better performance today than his previous efforts and a good sign going into the grass season.

For Stan, it’s a date with Rafa.

“I think to play Rafa on clay in the French Open in a final is probably the biggest challenge you can have in tennis,” Stan said. “He’s the best player ever on clay. He’s going for his 10th Roland Garros, so it’s something really impressive, something tough.

“At the end of the day, it’s a final. The pressure is on both players. No one goes on the court thinking he has no pressure. We both want to win the title, and we both are going to give it all on the court.”

So with Thiem done, the task of stopping Rafa now falls to Stan. And there are some similarities between Stan and Thiem. Except…. Stan has a few more Grand Slam titles than the Austrian, including a French Open. And Stan even has a win over Rafa in a Slam final. But never at the French. However, might that change on Sunday?


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51 Comments for Nadal Returns To French Open Final, Will Face Wawrinka Who Outlasts Murray In 5

Mike Says:

Everybody thinks Rafa’s gonna win but every one hopes Stan may thwart him… wait and see


Humble Rafa Says:

No animals will be hurt in my quest to #10. Short, painless execution on Sunday.


Nits Says:

Expected semifinal results today. Murray made it more competitive than expected reverse in case of Thiem. Thiem is a nice player if he wants to succeed he needs to fire his pessimistic coach who said Nadal will win before the match.


chrisford1 Says:

F-ing Stan. He is 3-15 against Rafa, but one was a Slam title Melbourne. He has only 1 big singles title (Monte Carlo) in non-Slam events, but 3 Slams. In his whole career he has only 2 doubles titles, but 1 was the Olympic gold medal 9 years ago. One of the strangest career records in tennis. He has been called inconsistent in his career, and that is true for the most part. Until you get to his Slam record starting in 2013. He has made the QFs or above in 12 of the last 15 Slams. And all 3 of his ATP 500 titles and MC Masters happened after 2013.

Djokovic calls his rival and hitting buddy “A true Big Game player in our sport the last few years. When he plays his best he is tough for anybody to beat.”
Federer said he is ‘pleased’ for Stan. Mirka said she is ‘pleased for the big crybaby’ ”

Odds are against it, but Stan does have the ability at times to hit Rafa off the court. He is the only thing between Rafa and Rafa’s 3 minute long “post victory dirt orgasm” – Rafa in bliss lying down and rubbing his body all over the clay.


jatin Says:

I hope we are going to witness an EPIC final. Stan is the only player who can compete with THIS rafa toe to toe.
It would be amazing to see either Rafa or Stan holding the trophy once again. So, I don’t know who to cheer for. Just want to see STANIMAL, and how Rafa tackles him.


James Says:

the H2H since start of 2014 is 3-3 – including 1-1 on clay. That’s the H2H that really matters, since Stan is a different player since 2014 – so is Nadal (but in opposite direction).

Regardless, this is a straight setter for Nadal. And perhaps the oldest final at the French – a 31 year old beating a 32 year old to pulp.

So much for nextgen. Nextgen stands for who in the next generation will now be pulverised.


Wog Boy Says:

Pity Thiem was fatigued .. after playing two three set matches in seven days, just ask Vaseline Man who plays tennis, he’ll explain to Thiem why he lost ..since it appears Thiem doesn’t know himself;).


Wog Boy Says:

“..since Stan is a different player since 2014 …”

That’s interesting, aren’t you the same person telling us that player after turning 29 starts to decline and that is the reason of Nole’s free fall too?
Accidentally, Stan turned 29 in 2014 and yet you are saying he is different (better) player since then?
I am happy with that, means there is a chance for Nole to come back even better.


skeezer Says:

Awww… b@tt hurt is at it again with personal attacks.
Heard vasaline is on sale @ AU Walmart, might help ya.
Can’t get over a weak Thiem thrashing his fav, then getting thrashed himself. O well, there is always the Challengers amd blaming Fed fama doe his loss. Good luck-with the V., since you mentioned it you must have experience with it.


Wog Boy Says:

Rub it in Slimy, rub it in, deeper, deeper … you see, you recognized yourself even without mentioning your name..are you fatigued..haha.


skeezer Says:

Well you just proved who the slimy is, you not me.. Kangaroo maybe?
Later.


Margot Says:

Congrats to Stan.Amazing what he pulls out for slams.
But, considering how rubbish Andy looked three weeks ago, really pleased with what he achieved. Hope he takes that confidence going onto the grass.
C’mon!


Nobody Says:

Why the homophobic insults? Can’t you find a way to be rude to each other without vilifying people based on their sexual identity?


squirrel Says:

@Nobody

Yes, preach it!


chrisford1 Says:

Never quite got the “homophobic”, “Islamophobic”, “Gaijin-phobic” “Trumpaphobic”, etc. labels. It’s not fear that is the driver. It is dislike of “The Other”.


Anto Says:

@chirsford Even i always wondered why are they calling people “phobics”


Wog Boy Says:

There is nothing “phobic”, any “phobic” in what I am implying, the meaning is completely different, but you see what you want to see, I can’t help you with that.
I have friends, real house friends of all sexual orientations, I attended same sex engagement parties with my entire family (my young kids) even if my opinion about that is slightly different, but they are my friends so I don’t need to justify myself to someone I don’t know nor he knows me, so take it anyway you like it, couldn’t care less;)


Navdeep Says:

Stan the man vs the king of clay! 9-0 at fo vs 3-0 at all gs.


James Says:

Wogboy, Stan realized his potential quite late in life – unlike players like Nadal, Fed etc. Had stan sorted out his head 10 years go, he would have been an even better player at age 26/27 compared to what he is now. Decline with age is inevitable – unless you think age doesn’t affect a person at all.

Fact is his opposition is almost equally old. And the younger guys really are too weak – which is also an artifact of the way the game is now, something I have mentioned on multiple occasions – but you probably didn’t read it or get it. Defense is more important than offense today, so matches have become more physical, balls are being hit harder yet there are fewer winners. Players are fitter so they retrieve anything, run like a rabbit for hours. A 20 year old body just can’t withstand that – takes years of practice and fitness build up.

Even Nadal – his game today is clearly inferior to the way he played in 2013 or earlier. He is winning because he doesn’t have to face the Djokovic of 2011 (or 2015) any more. All of these older players are playing at a level clearly below their best in the past – and much of that decline is age related. But someone has to win.


Wog Boy Says:

James, thanks for taking he time to explain your opinion.


Nobody Says:

@CF1: Dislike is often driven by fear. But that is beside the point. You’re confusing the definition of a word and its etymology. The definition of homophobia is “a range of negative attitudes and feelings toward homosexuality or people who are identified or perceived as being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender”

@Wog Boy: I didn’t say I was talking about you, so why did you feel targeted if there’s nothing wrong with your choice of insults? In any case, I didn’t say that anybody here is homophobic. But the choice of insults being used in the comments is. Suicide rate amongst homosexual teenagers is way higher than amongst heterosexuals. Although direct attacks such as bullying are a main cause, the fact that these kids can’t escape an environment which permanently depicts them as being wrong is another. For example, you can’t come to a tennis blog without finding someone in the comments implying that there is something wrong about people who buy vaseline or are b@tt hurt…


gonzalowski Says:

Congrats squirrel!
good luck for Stan tomorrow, and be a good match


gonzalowski Says:

James, I tend to think that Rafa’s way of clay-playing is the best of history of tennis, and we all could agree on that; And as Tony Nadal said the other day, ‘I don’t know if this year’s Rafa’s version is better than the one of 2008, but is a good one for sure’.
And a not defensive one, IMO. Not Thiem’s or Stan’s neither. Murray yes, most of the time deffended.

Borg maintains his record of 27 games lost in his way until the RG final; Rafa hast lost 29 this year.


Old School Says:

Let’s see a 5 setter. Seen enough of Stan, cannot recall him having back to back “I will not accept defeat” matches in a slam and he had one vs Murray. I would like to see him win.


James Says:

Gonza, I agree, peak Nadal is the best clay courter ever. I think peak Federer is the best grass court or hard court player, ever. I think Federer and Nadal, in that order, are the two best players of the open era, overall (I am counting Nadal’s 15th slam already here).

Nadal is also, I think, the best strategic player ever, and the player with the most tenacity/will, ever. On that front, he is above Federer. Where Federer runs away with the honors is sheer artistry and genius of his game, not to mention his all court versatility.

I wish they changed the balls and surfaces just slightly to compensate for the advancement in racket technology, to bring the game back to a stage where offence and defence become equally rewarding. I don’t like the 90% serve and done grass court tennis Ivanisevic style either – but today’s game is mostly devoid of within the baseline attack, especially net play.

Congratulations to Nadal on his 10th French title! A feat that will never be equalled.


Daniel Says:

Nadal had an easy patent his fault. Like to see him get tested more. He was a bit tight in beginning of both sets yesterday.

Regarding his game, my real issue is because he is left, all his clay powers is based on that. Would love to have an alternative universe and see how he will fare if he was right handed. But guess that’s what makes him so unique.


Anto Says:

@ Daniel you know the fact that Nadal chose to play left handed and he is a natural right hander. Right?


James Says:

Look at how Halep is playing right now – tells you all that you need to know about what’s wrong with tennis today. She is just standing back, looping every shot in, and winning. Offence is just not rewarding enough these days, especially on clay. at least it should be 50:50, that’s when you see the most attractive game, balance of defense versus offence.


skeezer Says:

Ostapenko wins the French Open? Who? Only on Clay…


Truth Says:

It required artistry to beat the abusive, asinine, stiff elephant Roddick on grass?!
Gasquet & Tipsarevic toyed with him.
Hewitt was beaten by Nieminen.
No artistry or huge genius needed. Old age didn’t bother Nieminen.

All that matters is no one that flukes a Slam should be compared to dominant geniuses (Weak Era 2003-20006 flukes were not dominant to gemiuses) from today.


Henry Says:

Skeezer: I know not many follow women’s tennis but this freshly turned 20 hard hitting lady has been an up and coming young lady for a while. Your “only on clay” remark, in this case, is not correct. She won Wimbledon as a junior in 2014, made it to the semis in mixed doubles at Wimbledon last year and has been collecting top player scalps this year. She may well surprise again at Wimbledon as she will arrive with a lot of confidence.
BTW this talented girl hit many more winners than any of her male colleagues at RG and hits a forehand harder/faster than, for example, Andy Murray. This may be her breakthrough moment


Miles Says:

The stiff elephant who reached 3 Wimbledon finals and also won Queens? Federer winning a major at aged 35 (beating 4 top 10 players), demonstrates just what a weak era (last 5 years)this is.


skeezer Says:

Henry,
I digress and had no intention to degrade her game. More of a comment on the surface. There have been many one and done players who have won the french;
Anastasia_Myskina
Iva_Majoli
Francesca_Schiavone
Garbi_Muguruza
On the mems side too.
Congrats to her and hope her game can carry over to other surfaces with the same results.


Truth Says:

That’s absurd. Wawrinka became a superstar. Ferrer was no flash in the pan.
Roddick was a lucky and greedy money hungry scammer.
Those weak draws at queens sure gave Roddick hope for Wimbledon.
John McEnroe was so hopeful. LMAO
He quit because he couldn’t win Slams that didn’t involve sweetheart Fed either. Oops

Even Roddick’s Davis Cup daddy coach Pat McEnroe laughed about him on Espn. No one took Roddick the abusive wimp seriously.
Mc and Roddick had to fool the umpire by whining that Roddick won a point against Rochus. They cheated Olivier Rochus (5 foot 6 inch tall) to qualify for the fluke Davis cup trophy. Mc cheated but later apologized for making the wrong protest and cheating Rochus.


skeezer Says:

Henry,
I digress and had no intention to degrade her game. More of a comment on the surface. There have been many one and done players who have won the french;
Anastasia Myskina
Iva Majoli
Francesca Schiavone
Garbi Muguruza
On the mens side too.
Congrats to her and hope her game can carry over to other surfaces with the same results.


Wog Boy Says:

There have been many players who have never won FO, many all time greats who won the other three but missed on career slam for not being able to conquer FO, hardest of all four GS to win, Wimbledon is the most prestigious, but by the accounts of lot of former and present players FO is the hardestto win to just ask

Arthur Ashe,
Boris Becker,
Jimmy Connors,
Stefan Edberg,
John Newcombe,
Pete Sampras,

they win the other three but never FO and they didn’t have Rafa Nadal to stop them doing so.
The arrogance of some people (so-called tennis fans) to diminish and disrespect the importance of legitimate tennis surface doesn’t have a boundaries, and all in order to prop the importance of their favorite and to piss on the one they don’t like.


Wog Boy Says:

Now I expect those fanatic to come and tell us that those all time greats didn’t care about FO:)


chrisford1 Says:

Nobody – You sort of align with the confusion generated by people who explain a word means something entirely different than the construction of the word as created is meant to convey….then use the word by their new definition to frame meanings or events. And then state the word’s etymology is operative after all in how the meaning or event must be dealt with.

Example: Village of black Christians in Sudan is butchered, raped by Muslim raiders. Surviviors hate the Gangaweed raiders for their actions. Academics then explain to them their dislike of Muslims is actually a pathology within the surviving Christians, not based in reality. They have “Islamophobia”. And the solution is cure the Christians of their fear by ecumenical gatherings with lit candles and Teddy Bears. Gatherings where religious and secular leaders attempt to educate the dumb Christians that their dislike of Muslim murder and rape parties visited on them is not reality based , but comes from ignorance and fear. Since Islam is “the religion of peace”.

It’s Orwellian. The dredging up of yet more WWII analogies works, too.
The European Theater was not won by an assemblage of Germanophobics who had failed to be educated out of their groundless counter-Teutonicism by helpful meetings hosted by Nazis, German religious leaders, etc. And thus their Germanophobia led to “senseless violence” and caused yet more unjustly feared Germans to stand by and let a tiny percent of the German population in Nazi leadership and the military “lash out” against bias they felt.


skeezer Says:

thank you for making my point.
All the players you mentioned have had won Slams on multiple OTHER surfaces, However, let’s now go to the mens side of the Clay GS, these guys never won on any other Slam surface:

Adriano Panatta
Yannick Noah
Andrés Gómez
Albert Costa
Juan Carlos Ferrero
Gastón Gaudio

“Wimbledon is the most prestigious, but by the accounts of lot of former and present players FO is the hardestto win to just ask.”
Ask these guys since they never won Wimby, AO or USO. Clay the hardest? LOL how so?

Even the great Gustavo Kuerten never won on any other Slam surface.

“…to diminish and disrespect the importance of legitimate tennis surface”
Your words not mine. FO is a Slam, no matter what. Just pointing out the obv….
Time to look in the mirror to help decipher who’s the arrogant one. What name am I gonna get called next?


Wog Boy Says:

As I said, not just any fanatic, but their leader is here, I guess Wilander knows thing or two about tennis, of course, not as much as Slimy, but still, so you can continue to argue with Wilander now, just tell him:

http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2017/05/25/roland-garros-now-toughest-slam-all-says-former-champ


Wog Boy Says:

You have one slam wonders in every GS, that’s false argument used as decoy, but you don’t have six of all time greats who have won multiple slams on other three but never FO.

Let’s see how many multiple slam winners won AO, FO, WB but not USO or AO, FO, USO but not WB (Lendl..), or WB, USO, FO but not AO (though for this combination they are excused since lot of players didn’t bother playing AO until 30 years ago)?

Can you find even two nevertheless six all time greats?


skeezer Says:

^That ‘s an opinion from one guy, not the accumulated facts which were laid out to counter your failed argument. Google search some more, since that is your only source of knowlesge on Tennis.


Wog Boy Says:

“accumulated facts”…haha. How did you get them, by googling, haha? Then google one slam wonders on the other three GS, as I said, false argument, used as decoy.

Accumulated facts are six all time greats, multiple GS on all but FO who not that jus never have won FO, but none of them except Edberg made one single final, zilch, zero, none, that’s how easy is to win FO.

You are an accumulated..well, you know what, I don’t have to say it.


skeezer Says:

I already knew most of them. If your a long time fan and player you would know. But you’re not. Not going to spend any more time with this just because you want to have the last word. Others have exposed your rhetoric and cause.
Out.


Wog Boy Says:

“..just because you want to have the last word.”

Look who is talking, do you have mirrors at home, you can buy the in two dollars shops, just google one around your area😂


Wog Boy Says:

I can see, you spent 40 minutes trying to google some “accumulated fact”. 😂


James Says:

French open is no less or more than other slams – its just most different, so skills needed on clay don’t translate well on other surfaces, and vice versa. Physically its the most difficult, so lets not undermine any of the French winners.

Similarly, grass is a very tough surface to play on, in terms of skill – every tried playing on grass? Its difficult. Roddick may not have been the sharpest knife in the drawer, but was one hell of a grass court player – a slam winner and No. 1 (for about as long as Becker?). So I don’t see the need to undermine him either.


skeezer Says:

James,
Funny you mentioned Becker, who won AO, USO and Wmbledon. The FO winners I posted won FO and nothing else. Like I said, Clay has the most one Slam and done winners. What does that say?
“so skills needed on clay don’t translate well on other surfaces”
Yep.


Wog Boy Says:

“..(Roddick) ..a slam winner and No. 1 (for about as long as Becker?). ”

How on earth can you compare one slam wonder with six slams winner based on number of the weeks as #1, tell me you are joking, particularly knowing who Boris had to face to win those six slams?
Just to put Boris and that bully brat Roddick in the same conversation (perspective) is a sin for itself.


Truth Says:

Roddick cowered in fear during Wimbledon and awaited failure at the hands of journeymen and diva Fed. He moaned at the crier Fed after losing because he said he was a “second rate” player.
Talk about delusional.
He was just a jealous misfit that got away with trying to punch Djoker and ridiculing the lines woman and superior opponents.
Monfils and nishikori must be laughing.
Roddick hissed and gave them nasty comments.
He was actually worse than that clown John McEnroe because Roddick was allowed to play without bans from tennis.
He thought he was superior, and that he gave himself therapy by spouting his lies.
He spewed “you’re not good enough” during a Monfils match.
Roddick was clearly a spoiled, insecure, evil and insane brat and his family was scared of him.
Any normal family would’ve told him to quit in 2005 and sacrifice his precious future money.
The media convinced the U.S. viewers that Roddick tried to be a legend. LOL!
He couldn’t even level to a fraction of Becker’s difficult matches and entertainment. Second level players didn’t avoid clay matches and did nothing but depend on crapoy serve direction/blind ball bashing at Wimbledon.
Maybe Djoker forgave this idiot and became a wimp like Roddick. He should’ve been inspired to give Roddick more painful memories of Federer beatdowns.


Truth Says:

* or just did nothing but depend

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