Four thoughts on the men's semis at Roland Garros

Four thoughts on the men's semis at Roland Garros

Rafael Nadal tries to win an 11th title at the French Open against Dominic Thiem, the only man to beat the top-ranked Spaniard on clay this season.

Nevertheless, Cecchinato can look back on a breakthrough tournament - he had never won a match at a grand slam before beating Marius Copil 10-8 in the fifth set last week. For me it's incredible.

Jay Sandhu, Last Word on Tennis: "This is the worst Rafael Nadal we've seen en route to a Roland Garros final since 2011 while also the best we've seen Dominic Thiem ever play in a Slam".

"I can not believe it now", Karin Thiem, a tennis coach, told a group of reporters. The Italian succumbed quickly in the third set, sparing the French Open from a final in which his past match-fixing case would have been rehashed under a global spotlight.

The victor will play either seventh seed Dominic Thiem, who appears in his third straight semi-final in Paris or Italian Marco Cecchinato, who will hope to continue his dream run having beaten former champion Novak Djokovic in the last round.

Nadal has already established himself as one of the five greatest men's tennis players in history.

"I came here without big expectations", said 2009 US Open champion Del Potro who has flirted with retirement on numerous occasions after a career-long battle with wrist injuries.

Thiem's fighting spirit was evident in abundance - he continued to put pressure on Nadal through his return game, while consistently scrapping to stave off perilous positions on his own serve - but ultimately the Spaniard's quality and, often, his sheer force of will, won the day.

"Everybody calls me an idiot, maybe even for good reason", Bresnik said.

A superb backhand crosscourt pass helped Nadal to make the crucial break and with it wrap up the opening set in 54 minutes, but what followed was a procession as Del Potro struggled to contain his frustrations at missing crucial chances to establish a lead.

When del Potro avoided a bagel in the sixth game of the second, he raised his arms in celebration.

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"I think that was my chance of the match".

He still occasionally inconvenienced the reigning champion, not least when a deft drop shot brought up a point to break back at 2-4. "I am a little bit fortunate to win the first set".

This was the No. 5-seeded del Potro's first semifinal at Roland Garros since 2009. If I had won the second set, I think it would have been totally different the third set.

Thiem has been to the semifinals in Paris three years in a row.

"He's been a very complex opponent". In this tournament, Nadal's only lost one set.

Thiem's confidence has grown as he reached the final of a major for the first time after falling in the semis in the last two editions of the French Open.

Cecchinato's bid to become the spoiler's spoiler ended, for all intents and purposes, when he was unable to convert any of three set points in an entertaining second-set tiebreaker that was the middle chapter of Thiem's 7-5, 7-6 (10), 6-1 win.

"Otherwise, it's not a very nice feeling".

Thiem, the No. 7 seed, reached his first Grand Slam final by ending the surprising run of 72nd-ranked Marco Cecchinato of Italy with a powerful 7-5, 7-6 (10), 6-1 victory Friday.

Thiem sent Cecchinato scurrying around the court before breaking decisively for a 6-5 lead with a lovely forehand victor.

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