French Open 2018: Rafael Nadal insists he’s still human


Ten-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal is aiming to reach his record-extending 11th final at Roland Garros. Thiem was pushed to winning a seventh game in the opening set by Marco Cecchinato before having to outlast the Italian in a tiebreak in the second.

Del Potro wept courtside after downing third seed Marin Cilic 7-6 (7/5), 5-7, 6-3, 7-5.

"It's always hard playing someone from your country and such a good friend", Stephens said, "so I was really pleased to be able to get through that and play some good tennis". "But in the end, it was not too hard".

But as the Spaniard struggled to win points on his first serve, he was broken again for 5-4 and Schwartzman served for the set.

The No. 3-seeded Muguruza had lost all three previous meetings against Sharapova, who won two of her five Grand Slam titles at Roland Garros. "It's definitely one of the best things somebody ever achieved in sport".

It was a first Grand Slam final for the Austrian. Nadal's astonishing French Open record now reads: Won 85, lost two.

The 11th-seeded Schwartzman has never made it to the final four at any Grand Slam tournament.

But those are not quite the same as the French Open, where Nadal is 86-2 for his career.

"I don't know if I will win, but I will take a big love from you and that's the most important for me", he said. He also happens to be the fifth best returner on the tour, according to the ATP's stat rankings.

The No. 1-ranked Nadal compiled a 35-20 edge in winners while making only 19 unforced errors Friday.

It worked. For a bit.

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They head into the World Cup as among the favorites to win a title they claimed in 2010, and are on a 20-game unbeaten run. They face a World Cup group containing Iberian rivals Portugal, as well as Morocco and Iran.

Nadal won the first set 6-4.

But Austrian Thiem will see this as a fantastic opportunity to reach a maiden Grand Slam final, after losing to Djokovic and Nadal at the semi-final stage in each of the last two years in Paris. A volley into the net.

Thiem‚ who was playing in his third successive French Open semi-final‚ admitted the second set had been a nervy encounter after needing five set points to get through it.

By then, Nadal was finding his spots. Yes, that's right: Thiem. Next he faced break point but a bold drop shot annulled the threat.

It was a cloudy and steamy afternoon, with the temperature at 77 degrees (24 Celsius) and the humidity approaching 70 per cent.

Upon resumption, the Spaniard gradually improved before rain brought an early end to the day with Nadal on the brink of winning the second set.

"If I'm facing Rafa, I'm not the one who has the pressure", he said. "I was not (in) control of my finger".

"It's a challenge that every player wants to have", he said.

After Thiem served, the trainer reappeared and massaged Nadal's forearm and wrist. That was Schwartzman's third set point, and it was played after a delay of a few minutes while an ill spectator was attended to in the stands at Court Philippe Chatrier.

Nadal still trails great rival Roger Federer by four major titles although the Swiss star is more than four years older. The crescendo rose to a full-throated roar for 2017.