Another year, another Nadal victory at RG

FROM ROLAND GARROS — Once again, Rafa Nadal wins Roland Garros. He has now won 11 titles in Paris, and over the past 15 days, he was so clean, hitting deep and true. No one can touch him.

Austrian Dominic Thiem, tried as hard as he could, but there was no answer. Sure, during the moments, he looked sharp, going for the shots, hitting backhand to backhand, and when he had a small opportunity, he would go for it.

But did Thiem managed to find the lines and hope that Nadal wouldn’t catch him? Here and there, but it didn’t work. Because Nadal is so fast, so patient, and he knows where the ball is coming from. The Spaniard’s forehand is massive, his serve is big, and at the net, today, he was almost perfect. His backhand has improved a lot over the last few years. Before, his backhand could be a little bit soft, or not deeper enough, but now, he is just fine hitting rallies, especially cracking down the line and putting it away.
Nadal is just better on the clay courts, having 57 titles. That is more than extraordinary. Next year, assuming he is healthy, Nadal will be the favorite once again. How does anyone can really attack him at Roland Garros? On occasion, someone might win a set, but to win it three out of five sets? Right now, that is impossible.    

Thiem had a fine two weeks. He pushed himself, and he likes to add something new. However, he does have to learn even more. He can be erratic against the big boys. So, if he wants to win a major, he has to find the right strategy. If he does, sometime of the future, the 24-year-old will reach the final at 2019 RG. The No. 7 may not be able to upset Nadal, but on clay, Thiem could win the title against anyone else.  He is that good.  

Rankings the top players …

The Men
Nadal, A+: He only lost one set over seven matches, against Diego Schwartzman. Not bad, not bad at all.

Thiem, A-: He has a wonderful backhand, and he likes to slide.

Juan Martin del Potro, B+: The Argentine is pleased that now he can use the two-handed backhand more often, but the No. 4 can still get tired.

Marco Cecchinato, B-: The Italian came from nowhere. Now there will be a lot of people watching after he stunned Novak Djokovic.

Marin Cilic, B: The No. 5 finally likes clay and he reached the quarters, but DelPo wore him down.

Novak Djokovic, B-: The 12-time GS champion looked pretty good early, but in the quarters, he made some key mistakes. And he was very angry.

Alexander Zverev, B-: He won three, five-setters in a row, which was a heck of a lot of fun. But, his toes were raw, and he went down versus Thiem. The No. 3 needs to pick it up in the Slams.

The women
Simona Halep, A-: It took her many years to settle down, and she did, winning RG. Now the No. 1 will finally be calm inside.

Sloane Stephens, A-: The American played amazing until the final, and in the first set, it looked like that she was ready to win a Slam again. But, in the last two sets, she folded it. However, mentally, on the clay, she improved a lot.

Madison Keys, B+: The big hitter once again revamped on clay, and while she was spotty against Sloane, at least she is healthy again.   

Yulia Putintseva, B+: Many people think that she is not that good, but she practices all the times and she finally made the quarters, beating a number of good players. Maybe she can go even further this year.

Garbine Muguruza, B: The Spaniard looked terrific, smashing Maria Sharapova. But in the semis, she lost it, and she fell against Halep. She is so good, but she doesn’t think enough.  

Angie Kerber, B: The German was playing terrific, fast and aggressive, but in the quarters, in the third set against Halep, she became injured and she collapsed.

Maria Sharapova, B: A decent tournament for the former No. 1, but on court she gets anxious. She has to calm down.

Daria Kasatkina, B: She looked formidable when she upset Caro Wozniacki, but then she lost easily to Stephens. She is very young though and she will continue to improve.

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