Thiem ends Cecchinato's run to reach first Slam final

Thiem ends Cecchinato's run to reach first Slam final

"It's hard to better the performance he had previous year here", Moya said of Nadal's 2017 masterpiece. There is no difference between practices and matches. "Today in the first set, for example, I was not playing great, was suffering because he was playing better than me. And Nadal has been doing it for years and years and years".

Anticipating the challenge of Nadal, Thiem earlier spoke of having devised a plan in case he meets him in the finals.

"I saved two set points and luckily I won it".

He is at last facing someone from a younger tennis generation instead of contemporaries like Novak Djokovic, 31, or an elder like Roger Federer, who will turn 37 in August.

He did not look unduly affected though and his heavy groundstrokes took a toll on Nadal, who rescued three more break points in the ninth game, one with a sublime drop shot.

Thiem is looking to become only the second Austrian player - man or woman - to win a Grand Slam title after Thomas Muster's French Open victory in 1995.

With his strong clay court play as of late, Nadal is not necessarily walking into this match the clearcut favorite. Thiem, 24, is the only player to beat Nadal on clay in the past two years.

"True, I understand that everybody here, you have to write things", he said.

Nadal, 32, won 6-4 6-1 6-2 to set up a meeting with Austrian seventh seed Dominic Thiem in Sunday's final.

Stamina will also prove critical, because here's the crucial detail for Thiem: his two wins over Nadal came in three-set matches, not five.

"Thiem beat me in Madrid this year and played with big power".

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Among the more absurd stats in all of sports: Nadal boasts an 85-2 lifetime record at Roland Garros. It was cruise control for the 10-time Roland Garros champion from then on. Thiem will have to produce tremendous quality and depth for hours to have a chance to join Soderling and Djokovic's exclusive club.

Thiem, who was playing in his third successive French Open semi-final, admitted the second set had been a nervy encounter after needing five set points to get through it.

With that in mind, Bresnik said he did not anticipate a victory for his pupil this year.

"It was not a very nice feeling", Thiem told the Court Philippe Chatrier crowd afterward. Stephens won last year's US Open; Halep is 0-3 in major finals.

"It was a poor performance", Bresnik said.

"Then you lose, you lose, but I gonna play with my highest passion and love for the game and for the sport to try to have success".

His decision to enter a smaller tournament in Lyon, France, the week before Roland Garros - an event he won - doesn't appear to have sapped him. Thiem ended up winning the title.

If you listen to Thiem's coach, Gunter Bresnik, his chances of winning are akin to landing a million dollar jackpot. There were no breaks of serve through the 12 games, with Thiem earning three break points while giving away none. "But I like this".

"I am very happy to be in another Roland Garros final, it is the most important tournament of my career". Both players dropped serve four times. People said: 'It's stupid. "He's one of the best players in the world on this surface", Nadal said. After holding there, Nadal broke del Potro to take that set and was on his way, taking 14 of the past 17 games.

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.