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Rafael Nadal targets unprecedented 10th French Open title

10 June, 2017, 11:48 | Author: Lula Armstrong
  • Andy Murray

Nine-time champion Rafael Nadal powered into a record 10th French Open final on Friday and will face 2015 victor Stan Wawrinka for the title after the Swiss outdueled Andy Murray in a five-set epic.

Looking to gain revenge on Thiem following his only defeat on the red dust in 2017 in the quarter-finals of last month's Italian Open, Nadal, who beat the highly-rated conqueror of Novak Djokovic in the finals of both Barcelona and Madrid, once again displayed an utterly ruthless edge on his favourite surface against an increasingly familiar foe appearing in only the second Grand Slam semi-final of his fledgling career.

Though he may take some time to recover from the effort of beating Murray 6-7 (6), 6-3, 5-7, 7-6 (3), 6-1, the two sets Wawrinka dropped to the Scot are the only two he has dropped here this fortnight.

For all the talk of the coronation of Rafael Nadal here on Sunday and La Decima - a 10th French Open crown, extending his record - it's worth considering that if the Spaniard could have listed who he would least like to play for the title, Stan Wawrinka may have been at the top. Kuerten said Roger Federer's surprise run to the Australian Open title in January at the age of 35 for an 18th major proved that age is not a factor in the sport.

Murray could not hold his following service game either, and a perfectly-hit inside-out forehand gave Wawrinka the second set.

In the other semifinal, 2016 runner-up Murray will face 2015 champion Stan Wawrinka in a matchup of three-time major title winners.

Murray slipped 0-5 and triple break down in the final set, a harsh indicator of the sudden shift in the balance of power.

The Spanish colossus is yet to drop a set in six matches, conceding a miserly 29 games to reach the title match.

"Physically I didn't feel my best at the end".

The 32-year-old, now the oldest French Open men's finalist since Niki Pilic in 1973, might have won all of the first three sets, but somehow found himself behind.

He coughed up a break advantage and the lead in the third set which allowed Murray to take the two-sets-to-one advantage, forcing Wawrinka to dig deep over the next two sets. That was a very high-intensity match. On Friday, two of them will be eliminated after the semifinals on the clay of Roland Garros.

He said: "I'm proud of the tournament I had".

"He played too well and I didn't have enough weight on my shot at the end of the match to put him under any real pressure". Pliskova beat Caroline Garcia, 7-6 (3), 6-4. "Only thing I care (about) is I have been playing very well during the whole event".

"I think it was a mentally tough battle today, especially in five sets against Andy", Wawrinka told reporters. And Thiem then took the second set 6-3.

Wawrinka booked his place in his fourth Slam final with another stylish backhand down the line victor.

A third consecutive break for Wawrinka earned him a 2-0 lead in the third set as Murray's frustration grew.

Wawrinka may have benefited from good fortune in that contest - Nadal sustained a back injury in the warmup and far from 100% - yet there is no doubting Wawrinka's ability to blow winners past anyone. Breaking for 2-1, he was efficient behind his serve for the rest of the set as he moved ahead by two sets to love.


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