Nadal crushes Thiem in a multidimensional final

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Between Saturday's Dominic Thiem qualification for the finals at the expense of the world No.1 Novak Djokovic and Sunday's final against Rafael Nadal, the former US TV commentator John McEnroe was the herald of the cause. from the Austrian: "This title deserves it." The choice not of the heart, not even the tennis but the recognition of a meticulously marked course, a player who goes up year after year, walk after march, his level towards a coronation which, in any other circumstances, would be unavoidable .

Thiem had also played every day since Thursday; the fault of rain and slicing – Friday and Saturday – of his match against Djokovic. The Austrian had certainly seen a fatal omen: at the beginning of the tournament, he explained that he had drastically lost the final of last year against Mallorca for lack of freshness, "And we all know how important this is at the end of the tournament here in Paris". It may have played: Thiem felt then not to have been "On a level playing field" with the Spaniard. But maybe not. Thiem was in good order in front of the door separating a finalist from a winner. He played Sunday a match of a breathtaking intensity, probably the most beautiful final for a good half-dozen years.

But that door, Nadal slammed it in his mouth: 6-3, 5-7, 6-1, 6-1. Like last year, Thiem started his final by accepting the tussle behind the baseline line with his opponent of the day. Bravely, he exchanged powerful shots in the diagonal forehand of Nadal (who is left-handed) – setback of the Austrian, giving the impression to often lead the exchange and forcing Nadal to force a few strokes, with so many unforced errors to the key. Only problem: the score, 6-3 for Nadal in the initial round in 56 minutes anyway, which says the fierceness of the fight. Thiem will then hang on, as we are tied to a board after a shipwreck hoping for the arrival of help. They will arrive: nonexistent on the service of the Spaniard during this second set, Thiem suddenly benefits from some direct faults of a Nadal suddenly nervous at the end of the set. The Austrian also tried to advance in the court, holding his bottom line rather than positioning himself further behind: he lost in safety what he gained in direction in the exchange. 7-5 for Thiem in 51 minutes.

The result will be terrible. Nadal will not let go any more, not a direct foul, lead services, a variety of blinding approaches – it's still time to stop taking it for a one-dimensional player – and some services followed at the net to complete to disorient his opponent. The icing on the cake: a stop-volley in the middle of the third set when his opponent had shot a passing-shot perfect forehand, Thiem even raising the thumb to Nadal to mark his respect. Twice 6-1, a twelfth title Porte d'Auteuil and curtain. Overwhelmed this winter by physical and psychological injuries, which had sowed doubt even in his coach Carlos Moya, Nadal arrived on time and if, over the seasons, the outside world sees a routine, himself not continues to refer to his doubts and his suffering in the approach of the tournament in recent years. No one but him and his loved ones can measure what all that costs him. On the other hand, it is easy to understand what his reign Porte d'Auteuil costs to the Thiem, Federer, Djokovic and others: 12 Roland-Garros in 15 editions.

Grégory Schneider

(tagsToTranslate) Austria (t) Dominic Thiem (t) Roland Garros (t) Tennis (t)

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