Nadal, Thiem ready for tough final showdown

Top seed Rafael Nadal Simona Halep cruise through to quarter-finals Serena Williams withdraws on Day 10 of French Open

ESPN's Nicolas Pereira recaps Rafael Nadal's comfortable semifinal win over Juan Martin del Potro to set up a meeting with Dominic Thiem.

If Nadal's march toward an 11th championship at Roland Garros was going to be stopped on this day, things were going to have to go del Potro's way right then.

The 10-time French Open champion punished Del Potro for missed opportunities as he registered a comprehensive 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 victory.

Rafael Nadal thrashed Juan Martin del Potro in straight sets on Friday to storm into his 11th French Open final.

"Second mistake, in the first set, he's holding very easily and what does he do on the break points?"

Del Potro had required treatment on a hip problem suffered early in the first set and he visibly wilted in the second, raising his arms in mock celebration when he won a solitary game while already 5-0 behind.

Thiem defeated Cecchinato 7-5, 7-6 (12-10), 6-1 to reach his first French Open final.

He beat the Spaniard in the Madrid quarter-finals this year having won in the Rome last-eight in 2017. "I have a plan". He went down to Nadal and Stefanos Tsitsipas in the quarters at Monte Carlo and in Barcelona. "I'll try my best and hopefully do better than past year". It is his most one-sided final win since allowing Federer just four games in the 2008 final.

"I had tough moment in the third set with cramps in my hand".

The above table clearly demonstrates the sheer domination that the likes of Borg and Nadal have had on clay.

This was the No. 5-seeded del Potro's first semifinal at Roland Garros since 2009. Injuries have hampered the King of Clay throughout the past year. "That gave me the possibility to play much better later on the match".

"In every game that I served, I had problems".

Nadal and Thiem have met nine times - all of them on clay.

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Thiem, who was playing in his third successive French Open semi-final, admitted the second set had been a nervy encounter after needing five set points to get through it.

Nadal's incredible record in Paris now reads 86 wins and two defeats.

Nadal is looking to win his 11th French Open and is favourite to beat Belgian Dominic Thiem.

"The big key was the second-set tie-break because it was very close and I saved I think three set points", said Thiem.

Cecchinato, who was formerly banned from tennis in 2016 as a result of a match-fixing investigation, had never won a grand slam match going into the 2018 event but dispatched eighth seed David Goffin and former world No.1 Novak Djokovic in a remarkable run.

After struggling in his quarterfinal against Diego Schwartzman, Nadal is approaching his best form ahead of the final and hopes are high that the Spanish star will emerge victorious.

Thiem has 13 career wins over top-10 players, and three of those victories have come this year.

"It was not a very nice feeling", Thiem said.

A fourth set point for Thiem vanished because of one of Cecchinato's many drop shots. But once Thiem got to 10-10 - ironically with a superb drop volley of his own - the clay-court prince was back.

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

"After that, my level dropped".

The final is on Sunday.

But Thiem went for the kill in the seventh game, leaving an emotional Cecchinato to take the applause of the crowd.

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