Thiem advances to first final, to face Nadal

Thiem advances to first final, to face Nadal

Thiem advances to first final, to face Nadal

Rafael Nadal will aim for an unprecedented 11th Roland Garros title, breaking his own record from a year ago - Five reasons why he won't be stopped. Both men knew that full well.

A tired Del Potro looked like he could not take any more punishment when a Nadal backhand victor gave him a break to love in the first game of the third set. "I'm so happy to be in the final again", said Nadal afterward.

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.

"Sometimes you play better, sometimes you are more nervous". "I have a plan".

Del Potro made a strong start despite appearing to damage his hip, but faded on a warm afternoon as the outstanding world No. 1 stayed on course for a 17th major success.

Nadal's opponent crumbled with a stack of errors in the fourth to concede a double break, but after the Argentine offered some resistance, Nadal went in for the kill with a fierce forehand to complete a three-hour-and-42-minute battle. But I get closer to them, just asking who was it? I continued the level of intensity that I played after the first stop. If he wins the game, OK.

"For sure I can take some things from that", he said. "That's the only way for me to approach the tough moments".

Juan Martin del Potro took his frustration out on a fan during his quarterfinal Roland Garros encounter with Marin Cilic-though he couldn't quite figure out which spectator to zone in on. He missed the tournament every year from 2013-16 because of injuries, including three operations on his left wrist.

Nadal acknowledged that Thiem has been a "very complex" opponent. "Today in the first set, for example, I was not playing great, was suffering because he was playing better than me. His game is too good for me".

Too good for almost everyone, nearly every time, on clay. It was the first time in three years that Nadal had dropped a set in Paris.

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"That's why the guy was dominating clay-court tennis the last 14 years like no one else before and nobody ever will".

"Thiem beat me in Madrid this year and played with big power".

In Saturday's women's final, number one Simona Halep of Romania will face number 10 Sloane Stephens of the United States.

But if there is a tad of intrigue entering this final, it is because of what happened in Rome on May 19, 2017, and in Madrid on May 11, 2018.

Cecchinato's career has been tainted by his involvement in a match-fixing scandal; he was banned for 18 months in 2016 before having the suspension overturned.

"It's a very nice feeling to come through that and make the final here for the first time". "He's a player that can be adapted more to the clay, it will be tough".

Thiem weathered three set points for Cecchinato, at 7-6, 9-8 and 10-9.

"It's his court, he has the keys and he has to take advantage of that", said Moya, referring to Nadal's track record at Philippe Chatrier stadium.

Spain's Nadal will meet Dominic Thiem in Sunday's final. Thiem defeated Marco Cecchinato in Friday's semifinal, 7-5, 7-6 (10),.

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