Nadal lesson for Thiem

Nadal lesson for Thiem

Nadal lesson for Thiem
Claycourt king Rafa Nadal marched into his 10th French Open final after demolishing rising Austrian Dominic Thiem 6-3, 6-4, 6-0 on Court Philippe Chatrier on Friday.

The 31-year-old Spaniard, back to his best after his Roland Garros reign suffered a two-year hiatus, brushed aside the sixth seed with a daunting show of force.

Thiem had reached the semifinal without dropping a set and had trounced defending champion Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals, but after starting brightly in the early evening sunshine his challenge disappeared into the encroaching shadows.

Nadal has dropped only 29 games to reach the final — surpassing his previous best of 35 in 2012.

Waiting for him will be Switzerland's Stan Wawrinka who subjected world number one Andy Murray to a barrage of body blows as he broke down the Briton's defences to reach the final, twice coming from a set down to win 6-7 (6), 6-3, 5-7, 7-6 (3), 6-1.

The Swiss 2015 champion hit a staggering 87 winners as he avenged last year's semifinal defeat by the world number one to set up a final against nine-times champion Rafa Nadal or rising Austrian talent Dominic Thiem.

Murray absorbed everything Wawrinka threw at him for most of the four hour and 34 minute contest but after winning a tense fourth set, Wawrinka steamed ahead in the decider as the Briton's armour was finally pierced.

The third seed, at 32 the oldest man to reach the Roland Garros final since Niki Pilic finished runner-up in 1973, was frustrated by Murray but never lost faith despite seeing his opponent rally back from a break down in the first and third sets.

Murray, who like Wawrinka owns three Grand Slam titles, made only one unforced error in the first seven games. He suffered a bit of a meltdown in the eighth, though, and Wawrinka pounced to steal his serve.

On his second opportunity, the Swiss punished Murray for his ill-timed rush to the net with a crosscourt forehand passing shot.

Murray broke straight back to eventually force a tiebreak that featured a couple of blazing exchanges that would be in the running for the 'point of the tournament'.

After some fast-paced exchanges at the net, Wawrinka moved to set point with a backhand volley but dinked a routine backhand into the net as Murray levelled for 6-6.

On the following point, the Scot was forced to defend again and he turned the rally around with a jaw-dropping defensive lob before finishing the point with a forehand winner.

The Swiss netted a forehand return as Murray bagged the opening set.

Wawrinka did not dwell on that setback and earned three break points in the seventh game of the second set, converting the first with a trademark backhand winner down the line.

Murray could not hold his following service game either, and a perfectly-hit inside-out forehand gave Wawrinka the second set.

A third consecutive break for Wawrinka earned him a 2-0 lead in the third set as Murray's frustration grew. He regained his composure to dictate the points and break back, but Wawrinka further increased the pressure to break again for 4-2.

Murray was back again thanks to a whizzing backhand winner, and he pulled off a decisive break for 6-5, holding to take the lead in the match when Wawrinka netted a backhand.

There were no break points in the fourth set, but Wawrinka was simply too good in the tiebreak, taking it with a powerful forehand service return.

The decider flashed by in just half an hour as Wawrinka levelled his grand slam win-loss record against Murray to 3-3 with yet another backhand winner.