French Open: Rafael Nadal crushes Dominic Thiem to set up Stan Wawrinka final

Rafael Nadal eased past Dominic Thiem on Court Philippe Chatrier 6-3, 6-4, 6-0 to book a spot in the Roland Garros final as he aims to win his tenth title. 

Rafael Nadal goes up one set

Rafael Nadal got off to a shaky start on Court Philippe Chatrier. Level at 30-all in the opening game, Nadal hit a shanked forehand which presented the Austrian with a breakpoint chance. A return up the line could only be met with an unforced error as Thiem got the first breakthrough, 1-0. But the Spaniard came straight back at Thiem who hit an unforced error of his own before saving two more break points en route to consolidating for 2-1.

The nine-time champion then upped his levels and began to boss the sixth seed bringing up triple breakpoints. A couple of forehand winners sent the game to deuce but Nadal would go on to earn a fourth break point chance of the game, one he would take to go up a break, 3-1.

Rafael Nadal strikes a forehand shot (Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Rafael Nadal strikes a forehand shot (Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Just like in his previous service game, Nadal would be forced to save two break points from his opponent before consolidating, this time to take a 4-1 lead. For the first time in the match, Thiem would have a comfortable hold on serve but still remain the break behind at 4-2.

Just the two games later, Nadal found himself serving for the opener up 5-3. A love-40 lead gave the 31-year-old triple set points. Thiem would only be able to save one as the Spaniard clinched the set on his second 6-3 with his opponent firing a backhand long of the baseline to lose his first set of the tournament. 

Rafa one step closer to final

Thiem began the second set by holding serve whilst being put under pressure. He then applied his own pressure to the Spaniard, picking up double break point chances, turning defense into attack and finishing with a brilliant pickup. Nadal then dug himself out of a hole, holding to get to 1-1 acing Thiem down the T for 1-1.

In the next game, the Austrian lost his serve, putting the nine-time champion up a set and a break in a crucial set. The Spaniard consolidated his serve to 15 finishing off the point by forcing the error from Thiem.

Rafael Nadal stretches for a shot (Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Rafael Nadal stretches for a shot (Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images)

The Austrian also held his serve in the fifth game to stay just the game and the break behind Nadal, who also was holding his serve quite comfortably. Nadal, who is aiming to win the French Open for the tenth time found himself serving for a two-set lead at 5-4 after Thiem held to love in the ninth game.

Nadal took a love-40 lead forcing the 23-year-old to play a backhand error as triple break points arrived. First time of asking, the 14-time Grand Slam champion made it two sets to love with a volley winner at the net for 6-4. 

Nadal gets a chance at La Decima

The Spaniard got off to the perfect start in the third set, breaking Thiem in the first game by once again making him play the extra shot. For the umpteenth time, the world number four consolidated the break to love for a 2-0 lead. The Spaniard, who had lost only one match on clay this season turned on his style from love-40 down, taking Thiem to deuce.

The Austrian had a chance at serving for a game but the Spaniard denied him and then grabbed a break point opportunity. Nadal opened up the court to fire a forehand winner. He secured the double break a game later, holding to love with a perfect game, 4-0.

Dominic Thiem congratulates Rafael Nadal (Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Dominic Thiem congratulates Rafael Nadal (Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images)

The Austrian's extraordinary campaign was beginning to come to a rapid end and the Spaniard continue to romp to another final, playing another perfect game, going up love-40 hitting multiple winners and forcing errors. Staring down a bagel, Thiem got broken with the Spaniard giving him the runaround.

Serving for the match and a place in the final at 5-0, the 31-year-old was forced to save a break point at 30-40 before then grabbing a match point a couple points later at advantage. An unreturnable first serve gave Nadal the match and the bagel, 6-0.