Rafael Nadal wins 10th French Open title
- Author: Julie Sanders Jun 12, 2017,
Jun 12, 2017, 1:17
But as is so often the case, Wawrinka has got better and more confident as the event unfolded.
Yet standing in the way of the Mallorcan from becoming the first player in the professional era to win the same grand slam title 10 times is a highly-destructive Swiss; not 18-times major victor Roger Federer but the barrel-chested Stan Wawrinka.
"It's true that 10 is a lovely number, but actually my favorite is nine", said Nadal, the nine-time champion at Roland Garros.
At just 19, Nadal became the youngest victor of a Grand Slam title since Michael Chang won at Roland Garros in 1989 at 17. "But Stan is playing unbelievable", said Nadal, who despite his imposing record has split the past six meetings with Wawrinka. "When I play Andy, I always want to dictate the game, be aggressive, play in the court, go up to the net".
Nadal withstood a shaky start before reeling off four games in succession to subdue Thiem, who was looking to be just the second Austrian finalist at a Grand Slam after 1995 French Open victor Thomas Muster. I played against the biggest clay-court player ever. He won his first nine in a 10-year span from 2005-2014, becoming the third player to win a slam in his teenage years. The only way for Wawrinka to emerge as a victor in this match was to keep the points on his racquet constantly and to paint the lines, which he was unable to do, making too many errors and struggling to find the open court against the wall that he faced on the other side of the net.
His win avenged defeat to Murray at the same stage in 2016 and the Swiss suggested the Briton was nowhere near that form on Friday.
The prop market will contain the most value for this final, with "4 Sets in match" valued at +190 with William Hill, and "Wawrinka to claim the first service break" at +180 with BetOnline is also great value, Nadal dropped serve immediately against Dominic Thiem and Wawrinka will be hungry to show his aggression towards the Nadal second serve should he get opportunities early in this contest.
"When I arrive in a big match, it's like closing, switching off everything in my body except my brain which I put in winning mode". He played a bit less fast.
"I'm a little emotional", he said.
Twelve months on, Nadal is healthy, in vintage form and about to face Stan Wawrinka for his 10th Roland Garros title.
The Spaniard comfortably beat his compatriot for an eighth French Open but the hard yards were achieved in the semi-finals when he defeated Djokovic 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 6-7, 9-7 in a 4-hour 37-minute epic. "I think with my team we did everything to take a fresh, good start".
Tell it to Murray, who operated at considerably more draining level and admitted his legs had gone in the end against Wawrinka.
"For sure this score wasn't good, the match wasn't good, but at the end of the day there's a lot of positives to take from the last few weeks", said Wawrinka. "I was a tiebreak from getting to the final in a tournament which I came into struggling". Murray held his own for the first four sets, but finally succumbed to his opponents shotmaking and his own fatigue in the fifth.