Rafael Nadal ready for 'tough final' against Dominic Thiem on Sunday


Nadal's backhand was doing most of the damage, with three winners having set up the double break on his way to a two-set lead, and Del Potro was broken to love in his first serve game of the third, with Nadal inflicting a devastating backhand victor up the flank after another majestic defence. Both men are at stages in their career that have previously been points of great decline for the greats who came before them.

Such is his motivation to win his 17th Grand Slam on Sunday, that the task facing Austrian 24-year-old Thiem was described as "almost impossible" by Del Potro.

Rafael Nadal is just two wins away from claiming an 11th French Open title.

Nadal saved three break points at 1-all in the opening set and another three at 4-all.

Nadal had too much class for del Potro on his favoured clay.

The Austrian tennis player had recently git the better of the King of Clay in Madrid Masters, although he had faced defeat at the hands of Nadal in French Open previous year.

He beat the Spaniard in the Madrid quarter-finals this year having won in the Rome last-eight in 2017.

The only thing that could stop Nadal now was surely an injury. "If Nadal gives him opportunities, he should be confident enough to go for the kill", Becker pointed out.

"Sometimes you play better, sometimes you are more nervous".

She improved in the second set, breaking early on only to be pegged back at 4-4 before Halep held a marathon ninth game and broke for a 6-1 6-4 win. I'm not sure if Thiem and Rafa had a run in the Bois de Boulogne that Rafa would win. "It's going to be a tough one but I will fight all the way".

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

Nadal crushed Del Potro's spirit with the intensity of his tennis in the second set, bounding 5-0 ahead before the Argentine registered a game to lift the spirits of his fans.

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

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The battle between Thiem and Nadal will be an interesting one to look out for.

"I believe that there is chances, limited chances in your career", Nadal said.

Thiem insists he has a "plan" against Nadal, one which he hopes translates to the longer best-of-five set format.

James Dudko, Bleacher Report: "Thiem's growing expertise on clay, as well as his recent winning form, should warn Nadal this final will be far from easy".

"Thiem beat me in Madrid this year and played with big power". Next up on Philippe-Chatrier was Nadal-the King of Clay on his court-and he delivered a terrific performance, making del Potro look patently average en route to a 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 victory.

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

But at 4-5 Thiem's serve let him down badly, handing Nadal three set points.

"That was not a nice feeling".

Dominic Thiem celebrates his semifinal victory over Marco Cecchinato at the French Open on June 8.

On Friday as well, he held his nerves at the crutch moment - when he faced three set points in the second set tiebreak and worked his way back from fudging his own share of five set points.

"That was definitely the key to the match", Cecchinato said.