Nadal faces power-hitter Thiem in final

Dominic-Thiem

It was his 45th career clay-court title. I think, and I didn't put not one bad face.

Austria's Dominic Thiem set up a French Open final with 10-time champion Rafael Nadal today after both players won their respective semi-finals in straight sets at Roland Garros.

Cecchinato, who had not won a match in five attempts at a Grand Slam before Roland Garros, fought valiantly against the number seven seed but ultimately the Austrian's star quality shone through to reach his first major final.

Nadal, 32, earned a record 10th title in Paris a year ago and has lost just twice at the tournament since making his debut back in 2005.

However, his fearless approach was completely ruined by the rain delays and allowed Nadal to regain control.

Truth is, there were not many the rest of the way, as Nadal finished with 35 winners and just 19 unforced errors. "Nadal in four sets".

"There is a lot of times where I feel like she made the ball by a centimeter", Keys continued, "and I was missing it. He's one of the best players in the world on this surface", Nadal said.

"Before it I was not opening the court with the backhand". I'm not interested in these things, I just play tennis.

He didn't stop there, such was his extended praise for the recently turned 32-year-old. A day later, it was rarely used as effectively.

The defending champion was imperious after an uncertain start, easing to his 24th win in 27 Grand Slam semifinals to end Del Potro's hopes of securing a second major title - nine years after his U.S. Open triumph. There were no breaks of serve through the 12 games, with Thiem earning three break points while giving away none. He needed two days to get it done after rain suspended play on Thursday when they were locked in the first-set tiebreaker.

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Returning to Court Philippe Chatrier Thursday, Nadal quickly polished off the second set, and with it, effectively, Schwartzman's challenge.

For those who want to back Nadal for an outright win, but find the match odds too skinny, taking the [3.80] on a 3-1 win might be the best course. If the exchange reflects this when liquidity increases, those odds should be laid: Thiem is likely to serve more aces, but it's also likely that we won't see many aces at all, and Thiem is no certainty to easily outscore Nadal in that department. The French Open, like all Grand Slam tournaments, is best-of-five for men.

Juan Martin del Potro could be a "nightmare opponent" for Rafael Nadal when they clash in the French Open semi-finals on Friday, according to former champion Mats Wilander.

The pair had resumed their quarter-final level at 5-5 in a first-set tie-break.

Nadal did not have almost as hard a time against the fifth-seeded del Potro.

In the quarter-finals, he even dropped his first set in Paris since 2015 to Diego Schwartzman before sprinting to a four-set win.

Del Potro has served 53 aces to reach the semi-final and his forehand, a stroke that could chop down trees, worries the very best as he showed by beating Roger Federer at last year's US Open and winning the Indian Wells title in March.

"That", del Potro would say later, "was my chance". I have had three surgeries on my left wrist and I was close to quitting. I'm not sure if Thiem and Rafa had a run in the Bois de Boulogne that Rafa would win.

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

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