Dominic Thiem ends Cecchinato fairytale run

Diego Schwartzman was in control before the first rain interruption

Nadal, a 16-time Grand Slam champion, claimed his 85th win in Paris against just two losses after weathering a big-hitting opening from 2009 US Open victor Del Potro to win 6-4, 6-1, 6-2.

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. Nadal still trails great rival Roger Federer by four major titles although the Swiss star is more than four years older.

"I've gone a very long way now and I don't want to lose the final, otherwise it's not a very nice feeling", he said. "Good tactics and mentality in the first set give me the possibility to play much better later in the match", said Nadal.

While we have an edge here, I appreciate that backing a heavy odds-on shot isn't most people's cup of tea, so the game handicap should be a viable proposition.

But while the Swiss has succumbed in three title matches in southwest London, Nadal has never tasted defeat in a final in southwest Paris, as Bresnik - and the rest of the tennis world - knows.

Dominic Thiem stands between the Spaniard and Grand Slam glory at Roland Garros.

Seventh seed Thiem is probably second only to Nadal on clay and must take confidence from two victories over the world No 1 on the surface in the last 13 months, including in Madrid just last month. Is he able to last the course if he can take Nadal the distance? "It was nearly impossible to beat him", del Potro said.

- "He is fresh, healthy". "He looks fresh. He is healthy, and the strength that he has and the mentality, everything is ideal, works flawless for him playing on clay". "And the strength that he has and the mentality, everything is flawless, works ideal for him playing on clay".

"When you're in a final like Roland Garros, it's a great happiness", Nadal explained.

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The pivotal part of the match was the second-set tiebreaker in which both men played superbly - and both had chances to end it. Thiem went ahead 6-3, but wasted three set points there, including a bad volley into the net at 6-4 that left him chewing ruefully on his left index finger. Trying to beat Nadal at Roland Garros in a best-of-five match is akin to trying to beat '08 Phelps in the individual medley, or 2012 Usain Bolt in the 200-meter dash.you get the picture.

"You can win a set, but not a match against Rafa", said Del Potro keen not to over-egg any hint of weakness in Nadal's game.

Despite preferring hard courts, he has won four clay court titles during his career and possesses a powerful game that Wilander thinks can trouble Nadal.

But Nadal roared into the 2017 Australian Open final, losing to Federer, then captured his record 10th French Open crown in June past year, setting the stage for another title run in the Flushing Meadows fortnight at the US Open in September. It's something we're aware of, it just happened in the last couple of matches, it's not something that is happening very often with him.

Thiem was quick to respond, reeling off the next three games to take the set in 46 minutes.

"You know when you start the clay-court season that Dominic, he's one of these players that have the chance to win every tournament that he's playing", Nadal said, "and maybe even (more so) here in Roland Garros, because he's strong physically". "That's the only way for me to approach the tough moments". "Best of five is also different story".

Nadal is 6-3 head-to-head against Thiem, but they've split their two meetings this season.

"I think if I'm facing Rafa, I'm not the one who has the pressure".

The final many called when the draws were made has come to fruition as 10-time French Open victor, Rafael Nadal, goes up against first-time finalist, Dominic Thiem, in Sunday's final.

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