Thiem wins 1st set

Rafael Nadal

Nadal, who saved all seven break points faced and has now won 33 of 36 sets in semi-final matches at Roland Garros, will face Dominic Thiem in Sunday's final after the Austrian seventh seed reached his first Grand Slam final by beating Italian Marco Cecchinato 7-5 7-6 (12-10) 6-1 earlier on Friday.

In the semi-final he will meet Juan Martin del Potro, who came through a predictably attritional battle with third seed Marin Cilic in four sets. Nadal hopes to make his 11th French Open final appearance.

The former US Open champion, who nearly retired from the sport two years ago after persistent wrist injuries, had said he would make a "last-minute decision" on his Roland Garros participation after suffering a leg injury at the Rome Masters. I think this is too good of an opportunity for Thiem to pass up. He played some incredible aggressive tennis to get through Djokovic in the quarters, just like he played fantastic aggressive tennis to get to the quarters.

Nearly the best any player can hope for at Roland Garros is to merely trouble the clay-court master, to make him slightly uncomfortable and perhaps even win a set, as Schwartzman did, before the inevitable Nadal victory comes to pass.

Del Potro seemed to hurt his left hip during the third game of the match after getting wrong-footed and called the tournament doctor with Nadal leading 3-2.

Nadal has never failed to win the title when reaching the last four at Roland Garros, but knows that Del Potro, who he has lost to five times in 14 meetings, is a risky opponent.

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Nadal has never failed to win the title when reaching the last four at Roland Garros, but knows that Del Potro, who he has lost to five times, is a unsafe opponent.

The second set was also dominated by serve until Cilic fired himself up to break at 4-4 - a furious del Potro throwing his racket at the changeover. For good. He had four wrist surgeries - three to his left and one to his right.

Del Potro has had success against Nadal in the past, with five wins in their 14 meetings.

"Of course the stop yesterday helped because it was in a tough moment of my match", said Nadal.

This time, Thiem instead faced Cecchinato, who never had won a Grand Slam match until this tournament and was the lowest-ranked men's semifinalist at the clay-court major in 19 years. "I was close to quit". It marks the world No. 6's first French Open semifinal since 2009.

The unheralded Cecchinato simply being here is weird for a number of reasons, not least his 10-8 final set success over Marius Copil in the first round, a match which lasted nearly four hours. The two traded games the remainder of the set, allowing Stephens to seal it on her serve in the 10th game.

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