Nadal advances to 11th French Open final, will face Thiem for title

Nadal advances to 11th French Open final, will face Thiem for title

In his 24th Grand Slam final‚ Nadal will face Thiem who ended Marco Cecchinato's French Open fairytale‚ reaching his first major final with a 7-5‚ 7-6 (12/10)‚ 6-1 victory.

Only two players have managed to beat him so far at the clay-court Grand Slam tournament - Robin Soldering in the fourth round of the 2009 edition and Novak Djokovic in the quarter-final of 2015 edition.

"He beat me in Madrid and he has incredible power", said Nadal ahead of their French Open final.

A sumptuous cross-court backhand victor by Nadal handed him a double-break in the fifth game and it wasn't long after before he closed out proceedings in two hours and 14 minutes to take his place in Sunday's showpiece against Thiem, who he enjoys a 6-3 head-to-head record against. Nadal has a 6-3 record against the seventh-seeded Thiem but the Austrian player prevailed the last time they met, in Madrid last month.

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 unsafe opponent. "I think he's the second or third-best player on red clay", Cecchinato, who was suspended for match-fixing in 2016 before being cleared on a technicality, told reporters.

But once a competive first set went the way of the world number one, the plan became damage limitation and Nadal's "undecima" never looked in any doubt. Nadal had more trouble with another Argentine, the diminutive Diego Schwartzman, in the quarterfinals.

The forecast says there is a chance of rain.

An 86th win on Sunday will give the 32-year-old Spaniard an 11th French Open title - a joint record for triumphs at a single Grand Slam along with Margaret Court who won 11 Australian Open trophies, albeit not all in the professional era.

" If I lost that tie-break it would have been a very close match I think and I didn't want that". Thiem withstood a barrage of break points to hold in a marathon sixth game, which he thought he had won at 40-30 when he left a wide ball, only for the umpire to overrule the line judge.

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Surely, so did del Potro.

And on the penultimate point of the semifinal, after being run ragged, the 2009 US Open victor could only offer up a smile.

Nadal beat Stan Wawrinka in the 2017 French Open. He impressively recovered from a slow start to make the first set close.

"I can not believe it now", Karin Thiem, a tennis coach, told a group of reporters.

"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. But now I am so happy.

The smile never left her face.

Nadal's French Open campaign did not begin quite as smoothly as he has grown accustomed to, with the world #1 forced to save three set points to progress in straight sets 6-4 6-3 7-6 against Bolelli.

"It's not easy. I've been on court just a couple of minutes ago". Midway through the opening set, Nadal's aqua T-shirt was so soaked with sweat it stuck to him.

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