When Rafael Nadal bageled Dominic Thiem at Roland Garros

Rafael Nadal claimed nine Roland Garros titles in ten trips to Paris between 2005 and 2014. The Spaniard lost the ground a bit at his favorite tournament in 2015 and 2016, and he was ready to shine again in 2017. Rafa dominated the field to reach the semi-final without losing a set, with only a couple of rivals taking four games in a set. Nadal faced Dominic Thiem in a battle for the final and toppled the Austrian 6-3, 6-4, 6-0 in two hours and seven minutes. It was their seventh meeting, all on clay, and the fifth victory for Rafa. The Spaniard avenged the Rome Masters loss and ousted the younger opponent to sail into the title clash, the first in Paris in three years. Nadal claimed 33 points more than Thiem, dropping only 20 points in 13 service games and defending seven out of eight break chances. The pressure was on Dominic, and he could not deal with it after achieving the best result at Majors. The Austrian served at 53% and gave away half of the points in his games to experience six breaks from ten chances offered to the Spaniard.

Rafael Nadal defeated Dominic Thiem in straight sets in the 2017 Roland Garros SF.

There was nothing to separate them in the 20 most extended exchanges, and Raf built the advantage in the shortest and mid-range rallies. Nadal hit a similar number of winners and unforced errors, forced 30 mistakes from his opponent and took advantage of Thiem’s 40 unforced misses. Rafa got broken in the encounter’s first game and pulled it back in game two for 1-1. The Spaniard struggled to find his strokes early on, facing two more break chances in game three. He denied them to bring it home and move in front. Dominic was in even bigger trouble in his games, defending three break chances in game four before Rafa seized the fourth to forge a 3-1 advantage. Serving in game five, Nadal defended two break points and fired three winners in a row to bring it home and extend the gap.

The Spaniard wrapped up the opener with a hold in game nine, moving 6-3 in front after 44 minutes and gaining a boost. Thiem held at the beginning of the second set after a brilliant point and a volley winner, and he created two break chances in the next one. Nadal saved them and closed the game with an ace for 1-1. The Austrian squandered two game points in game three and got broken to push the Spaniard in front. Both players served well in the rest of the set, and Rafa brought it home with a hold at love at 5-4 with a volley winner for two sets to love advantage after an hour and 36 minutes. Nadal was the only player on the court in the third set, serving well and opening a 3-0 lead with a forehand down the line winner. Rafa grabbed another break in game five with a forehand crosscourt winner and hit a service winner at 5-0 to emerge at the top and advance into the title clash.