How Nadal tames Del Potro


World number one Rafael Nadal beat Juan Martin Del Potro 6-4,6-1,6-2 to reach his 11th French Open final.Let us have a brief look at how King of Clay tamed tall Argentine.
Nadal was down 0-30 in his opening service game but managed to hold.Del Potro held to level at 1-1 in the opening set of the  semifinal.In the third game while serving Nadal was down 0-40 but held his service again saving 3 break points with a couple of good drop shots.2009 US Open champion  then held for 2-2.In the fifth game also Nadal felt behind however again managed to hold.On the other hand Del Potro won his service games comfortably till they levelled at 4-4.In the crucial 9th game Nadal faced break point only to see Potro failed to convert again.Nadal held for 5-4 lead.Del Potro was under pressure on his serve for the first time as he faced 2 set points in the 10th game.Nadal sealed the opening set on his second set point when Del Potro hit loose forehand into the net.
Nadal began the second set with more attacking display and broke Del Potro in the second game  at love
Again he broke world number six in the fourth game to make it 4-0 with his trademark court coverage and aggression.His lethal top spin forehands did the damage as Del Potro lost the set quickly 6-1.
In the third set with Nadal at his best,Argentine lost his serve twice and Nadal wrapped up the match in just over two hours.Nadal saved all six break points he faced in the match.This showed once again that when it mattered most Nadal has the last laugh.Conditions also suited the Spaniard as it was bright sunshine throughout the match.These two met in last year’s US Open semi-final where Nadal recovered after losing the opening set to win in four sets.Del Potro was doubtful for French Open few weeks back with injury.However he won his five matches comfortably here including his win over third seed Marin Cilic which showed his determination and fitness  as he spent one hour less total time on court than Nadal before the semifinal.Despite the loss Del  Potro will move up to fourth in the rankings next week.This is Nadal’s 10th victory in 15 matches against Del Potro.
Nadal will play Austrian clay court speciallist Dominic Thiem in the final on Sunday.Thiem is the only man who has beaten Nadal in the last two seasons on clay.If Nadal wins it will be his 11th French Open title and will also mean he will hold onto his number one ranking.

Shailesh Padhye
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