Dominic Thiem fends off Marco Cecchinato challenge to make final

Dominic Thiem fends off Marco Cecchinato challenge to make final

Dominic Thiem fends off Marco Cecchinato challenge to make final

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

Nadal lost the opening set 6-4, and went on to trail by 2-3 in the second on Wednesday when the match was spoiled by rain.

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 champion is playing Dominic Thiem.

The 10-time Roland Garros champion has won 23 of his 26 Grand Slam semifinals.

Del Potro, the US Open victor in 2009, is playing the tournament for only the second time since 2012 after a spate of injuries. He missed the tournament every year from 2013-16 because of injuries, including three operations on his left wrist. "He's one of the best players in the world on this surface", Nadal said.

Over the past two seasons, Nadal is 49-2 on red clay, with both losses coming against Thiem: in the quarterfinals at Rome in May 2017, and the quarterfinals at Madrid in May 2018.

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 wonderful player". He's playing with big confidence. But I know how to play against him. "I was 11 years old, watching in the TV and honestly never expected that one day I'd play the finals here".

Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic have won the French Open for their first Grand Slam title in women's doubles.

Nadal, by contrast, had not had a sniff on Del Potro's serve until, at 5-4, two swishes of his forehand forced two set points, the second of which he converted when the Argentinian netted. Over the past two years, including best-of-three matches, the Spaniard is 49-2 at clay tournaments.

"He's a big favorite against everybody", Thiem said. "That gave me the possibility to play much better later on the match". I have a plan.

It looks a daunting mission for the 24-year-old Thiem but not necessarily an impossible one. He will now be looking to win a record 11th grand slam title of the tournament.

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

"But I'm also aware that here it's tougher", said Thiem, the first Austrian in a major final since Thomas Muster won in Paris in 1995.

World number 72 Cecchinato stunned Roland Garros on Tuesday by following up his surprise wins over top-10 seeds David Goffin and Pablo Carreno Busta with a breathtaking victory against 12-time major champion Djokovic.

"You have to be focused and keep your passion for the game". So I have nothing to lose tomorrow.

"That was not a nice feeling".

Breaking serve in the first game and bouncing to a 4-2 lead, Thiem controlled proceedings before Cecchinato reeled off the next three games with trademark flair and adventure. This year they have met twice and split the wins, with Nadal destroying Thiem 6-0 6-2 in Monte Carlo and Thiem winning 7-5 6-3 in Madrid.

Increasingly frustrated at Cecchinato's resistance, Thiem lost his composure completely in the second set.

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