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

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

Thiem's 35 match-wins this year are the most of any man on the circuit.

Wilander believes Thiem can worry Nadal if he is prepared to "take risks" like Diego Schwartzman did in the quarter-finals when he snapped the left-hander's run of 37 consecutive completed sets won at the French Open by snatching the opener.

The 16-year-old McNally, who is unseeded, beat Iga Swiatek of Poland 3-6, 7-6 (6), 6-4.

Marco Cecchinato has dropped his first service game against seventh-seeded Dominic Thiem in their French Open semifinal.

Someone in the stands cried out during his serve, disrupting his focus as he double faulted and handed Cilic a critical break for 5-4 in the second set. And he set up a French Open final that, pardon the cliché, is a worthy clash between the king of clay and the man hailed as the prince. Nadal has won 11 straight matches on clay court. Thiem withstood a barrage of break points to hold in a marathon sixth game, which he thought he had won at 40-30 when he left a wide ball, only for the umpire to overrule the line judge. He said: "I am very happy to be back in the final here at Roland Garros". However, Nadal has never lost in a French Open final and has lost just two career matches on this surface.

Well, the two do meet - in Sunday's final - but the market disagrees with my ratings, making Nadal the short favourite, at around [1.26]. Now, del Potro will seek to break it open and steal a win on Friday.

If Thiem wins on Sunday, he will be the youngest man to win at Roland Garros since Nadal won at 24 in 2010. It puts them in an uncomfortable position since the start - they lose the first set and immediately think "oh, there's no way I can get three sets now, I'm not physically strong enough to do it". "If I lost that tiebreak it would have been a very close match and I didn't want that".

"I couldn't find the right person", del Potro said, laughing about the incident. I always hear from players that in a match they will do it differently, but if you don't practice that way, you are not going to do it in the heat of the battle.

Austria’s Dominic Thiem will meet Rafael Nadal in the French Open final Sunday. Thiem defeated Marco Cecchinato in Friday’s semifinal 7-5 7-6
Austria’s Dominic Thiem will meet Rafael Nadal in the French Open final Sunday. Thiem defeated Marco Cecchinato in Friday’s semifinal 7-5 7-6

Del Potro missed another chance at 2-0 in the second set and from that point there was only going to be one victor.

Top-ranked Simona Halep will have another shot in the French Open final. Again, Nadal finished the tournament without having dropped a set. And he did just that, easier opponent notwithstanding, with a 7-5, 7-6 (12/10), 6-1 win. I know I have to play my best tennis to have a chance on Sunday.

Rafael Nadal's bid for an 11th French Open title continues with the resumption of his rain-interrupted quarterfinal against 11th-seeded Diego Schwartzman of Argentina.

However, the Austrian is wary that a best-of-five-set Grand Slam match represents a different challenge, especially at a tournament where the Spaniard has been beaten only twice in 87 matches.

Del Potro, playing in the semi-finals for the first time since losing to Roger Federer in 2009, was 0-40 ahead on Nadal's serve at 1-1 but could not press home the break and worryingly appeared to hurt his hip at deuce in that game.

One of those was a 6-3, 6-4, 6-0 rout in the Roland Garros semi-finals 12 months ago.

The pair had resumed their quarter-final level at 5-5 in a first-set tie-break.

"Could he beat Nadal in the final, probably not, but Nadal is not guaranteed to get to the final".

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