Imperious Nadal Downs Thiem To Claim 11th Roland Garros Title

French Open: Ruthless Rafael Nadal punishes Juan Martin del Potro in semi-final

Rafael Nadal looks to win back-to-back French Opens for the eighth time in his career after beating Juan Martin del Porto Friday in the semifinals at Roland Garros.

Nadal and Thiem will clash at Roland Garros in Sunday night's final in the battle between ruling monarch and heir apparent.

Next up for Thiem is either Nadal, who is eyeing his 11th French Open title, or Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina.

If Austrian Dominic Thiem does win on Sunday in what will be his first Grand Slam final he will join Novak Djokovic and Robin Soderling as the only two players to down Nadal on his favourite claycourt battleground.

Cecchinato, who up until this year's Roland Garros never got past the first round of a Grand Slam event, did not look the same in the third set, as he hit just one victor, committing eight unforced errors.

I never dreamed in 2005 when I played my first final here that I would be in another one."Thiem is the only man to beat Nadal on clay in the last two seasons - in Madrid this year and Rome in 2017". He beat me this year in Madrid with big power.

However‚ the 29-year-old was unable to capitalise and Nadal made him pay in the 10th game when he claimed the opener off a netted backhand.

But the Spaniard was impressive on Friday, finishing with 35 winners and 19 unforced errors to Del Potro's analysis of 20 and 32."Thiem is an fantastic player".

"It is going to be tough one but I'm going to fight".

Thiem, who swept past second seed Alexander Zverev in the last-eight, broke the Italian in the first game. "I believe I can be ready for that final".

Del Potro had required the doctor early in the first set after appearing to jar his ankle in the red clay.

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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.

Rafael Nadal bids for his record-extending 11th French Open championship when he faces Dominic Thiem in the final. "I was very scared".

"It's always a pleasure playing him in a Grand Slam".

But Thiem, unusually standing up to Nadal's first serve, forced two break points in the next game and converted the second with a flashing forehand into the right corner.

"To beat him on clay, I would say the only chance for any player now is to be really aggressive".

Thiem used to hike through the Alps in his homeland as part of his training, but the 24-year-old had an even bigger mountain to climb now.

Rattled by the Italian's revival, Thiem clicked into overdrive - and aided by Cecchinato unforced errors - clinched a crucial break for 6-5 by crunching a forehand victor.

"Of course there is pressure especially in grand slam finals, because I went a very long way now and I don't want to lose the finals", he said. Because being No. 1 without a Grand Slam, I always said, is not like everything, not 100 percent.

"Not a very nice feeling", Thiem said.

In 2016, Cecchinato was accused of match-fixing and suspended for 18 months, but he appealed, and his punishment was dropped on a technicality.

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