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French Open Tennis Final 2018
Rafael Nadal, in reaching his 11th French Open final, keeps killing ’em with kindness
In addition to his physicality, his stamina, his will, his rocketed shots, his left-handedness, his diabolical spin and his rare capacity to take a mid-rally predicament and reverse it into some kind of optical illusion of a winner, Rafael Nadal has this curious knack that continues to wreak a living hell for opponents even 14 French Opens into his career: his humility.
Perhaps no major athlete has plied such a genuine humility to such hegemonic ends. “I have never been arrogant,” he said in Spanish late Friday, and as that has proved true throughout his long stay on a world stage, it also has lent fuel to some outrageous facts.
Rafael Nadal improved to 11-0 in French Open semifinals as he seeks his 11th title at the clay-court Grand Slam tournament, saving all seven break points he faced and overwhelming 2009 U.S. Open champion Juan Martin del Potro 6-4, 6-1, 6-2.
The No. 1-ranked Nadal compiled a 35-20 edge in winners while making only 19 unforced errors Friday.
Nadal saved three break points at 1-all in the opening set and another three at 4-all. After holding there, Nadal broke del Potro to take that set and was on his way, taking 14 of the last 17 games.
This was the No. 5-seeded del Potro’s first semifinal at Roland Garros since 2009. He missed the tournament every year from 2013-16 because of injuries, including three operations on his left wrist. In the fourth game Friday, del Potro clutched at his left hip after being wrong-footed by one shot from Nadal and was visited by a doctor at the next changeover.