'A little hope': Nadal vs Thiem in French Open final

'A little hope': Nadal vs Thiem in French Open final

Nadal sealed his place with a convincing 6-4 6-1 6-2 win over Juan Martin del Potro to reach an 11th French Open final.

Nadal has never failed to win the title when reaching the last four at Roland Garros, but knows that Del Potro, who he has lost to five times in 14 meetings, is a risky opponent.

This time, Thiem instead faced Cecchinato (cheh-key-NAH'-toe), a 25-year-old from Sicily who never had won a Grand Slam match until this tournament and was the lowest-ranked men's semifinalist at the clay-court major in 19 years.

Austria's Dominic Thiem played Italy's Marco Cecchinato during their men's singles semi-final match on day thirteen of the French Open.

As for Thiem, the 24-year-old is in his first Grand Slam final.

Del Potro is set to play next Spain's Rafael Nadal, who beat Argentina's Diego Schwartzman 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2.

Nadal appeared to be suffering with cramp in his left arm early in the third but even that discomfort could not derail him as the "King of Clay" extended his scarcely believable French Open win-loss record to 86-2, further underlining his status as the greatest of all time on the red dirt.

And the only man to beat Nadal on clay a year ago was Thiem.

"He's one of the best players in the world on this surface", Nadal told reporters.

But the Spaniard was impressive on Friday, finishing with 35 winners and 19 unforced errors to Del Potro's analysis of 20 and 32."Thiem is an awesome player".

This was not the case during the first two tight sets between the Thiem and Cecchinato.

Del Potro Can Trouble Nadal During Semi-Final Clash, Wilander Says
This was Thiem's moment to finally break through to the next level - a Grand Slam final on a surface he plays his best on. With his strong clay court play as of late, Nadal is not necessarily walking into this match the clearcut favorite.

"If it's going to be him on Sunday, I will try everything so that my plan is also going to work out a little bit here and not only in Madrid or in Rome".

Nadal is bidding to become only the second player to win 11 titles at any Grand Slam tournament after Margaret Court, who won the Australian women's singles title 11 times. "But I think he's very enthusiastic".

Thiem‚ who was playing in his third successive French Open semi-final‚ admitted the second set had been a nervy encounter after needing five set points to get through it.

Rafael Nadal takes a 10-0 French Open semifinal record into his matchup at Roland Garros against 2009 U.S. Open champion Juan Martin del Potro. I know I have to play my best tennis to have a chance on Sunday.

"I'm feeling so, so happy to make the right decision to play here".

Nadal acknowledged that Thiem has been a "very complex" opponent.

"If lost that tiebreak it would have been a very close match I think and I didn't want that".

In 2016, Cecchinato was accused of match-fixing and suspended for 18 months, but he appealed, and his punishment was dropped on a technicality.

But once he squandered that chance against Thiem, the Italian ended up falling to a 7-5 7-6 (10) 6-1 defeat.

Up in the stands, Nadal's uncle Toni, his former coach, was nervous, too, "because I thought maybe we can have a problem", he said.

However, having squandered one set point, he went in for a simple backhand volley victor only to dump it into the net.

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