French Open: Rafael Nadal storms past Del Potro to reach his 24th Slam final

Nadal will attempt to win his 11th French Open Sunday against Dominic Thiem, after a confidence-inducing victory over the fifth-seeded Argentine.

French Open: Rafael Nadal storms past Del Potro to reach his 24th Slam final
Nadal was dominant throughout the match. Photo: (Clive Brunskill/Getty Images Europe)
Rafael Nadal
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Juan Martin Del Potro

The other finalist was already decided before Juan Martin Del Potro and Rafael Nadal stepped on the court, as Dominic Thiem already defeated Marco Cecchinato in straight sets in the match before. The head-to-head coming into the match was 9-5 in Nadal’s favor. Even though Del Potro’s French Open participation was doubtful due to groin injury, the Argentine equaled his best performance in Paris. After dropping his first set since 2015 in Paris to Schwartzman, Nadal blasted through Del Potro 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 in 2 hours and 17 minutes.

This was Del Potro's first semifinal appearance. Photo: (Clive Brunskill/Getty Images Europe)

Nadal looks dominant coming into the final

The match on Court Philippe-Chatrier had a slow start to it, both players feeling out each other's form on the day. Both players were holding serves in mostly simple games, and it was actually Del Potro who had the more break point opportunities at 1-1 and 4-4. The 4-4 game would turn out to be a pivotal moment in the match, as Nadal went on to save three break points, win the game, and only drop three more games in the match.

Nadal went on to break Del Potro to win the set 6-4. The world number one just found a different gear after the first set. Del Potro had some drop off performance, but Nadal gave him no chance, with an insane 13 winners to only 4 unforced errors. The Spaniard had set points to bagel Del Potro but settled for a 6-1 win. Nadal continued his absolute rampage in the third set, taking an early break to go ahead. Despite Nadal being a bit less dominant, Del Potro still struggled to win points, producing only 4 winners to 11 unforced errors and losing the third set 6-2.

Both finalists should be fresh for the Sunday final at 9 am ET after winning their matches in straight sets. Nadal will be the overwhelming favorite over Thiem, especially after his dominant performance today. That said, Nadal has seemed somewhat vulnerable in early sets against Schwartzman, Bolelli, or Del Potro. If Thiem wishes to give Nadal a run for his money, he will need to come out with his top level from the first point and hope he can pressure Nadal into early nervous mistakes.

Nadal will face Dominic Thiem in the final. Photo: (Clive Brunskill/Getty Images Europe)