Dominic Thiem beats Marco Cecchinato, books French Open final birth

Rafa Nadal

Rafa Nadal

The seventh-seeded Austrian knows the enormity of the task at hand and seems to be making sure he puts in his best against the King of Clay, who has a 10-0 record in Roland Garros finals.

Like Halep, Stephens is an incredibly talented defensive player, and she kept stretching points Thursday until Keys would err. "We hope to continue our strong form, especially now as the top doubles players". "I'm so happy to be in the final again", said Nadal afterward.

Both new-look pairings went out in the first round.

Rafael Nadal thrashed Juan Martin del Potro in straight sets on Friday to storm into his 11th French Open final.

-Tennis Channel Plus features up to 10 courts of live action from Roland Garros beginning Sunday, May 27 at 5:00am ET.

"It's tough to speak now", the fifth-seeded Argentine player said.

The 6-foot-6 (1.98-meter) Argentine wiped away tears during his on-court interview, telling fans who chanted his nickname, "delPo": "It has been a long time without good feelings on my body. I was close to quit".

In Sunday's final, Thiem will face either No. 1 Nadal or No. 5 Juan Martin del Potro. Federer's 11 are at Wimbledon, and if Nadal beats Thiem on Sunday, he'll keep his flawless French final mark; he's never lost in the ultimate match at this event.

In 2009, del Potro lost to Roger Federer in the French Open semifinals.

Thiem used to hike through the Alps in his homeland as part of his training, but the 24-year-old had an even bigger mountain to climb now. Basically, it's typical Nadal in the French Open.

Nadal has dropped only one set so far in reaching the final - one more than he conceded in winning the 2017 title.

A fourth set point for Thiem was erased with - what else? - a drop shot by Cecchinato.

Most men who face Nadal have a plan.

"It is nearly impossible to beat Rafa", said Del Potro who had his chances in the semi-final but failed to convert any of his seven break points before his challenge petered out into tired hopelessness.

Del Potro recovered well, though, breaking back in the next game. Nadal racked up 18 winners in the fourth set to capture the match, ultimately overpowering Schwartzman.

The freedom with which Schwartzman had played in the first set had disappeared, errors which had been rare becoming increasingly regular.

And the underdog soon faded as Thiem kicked on, racing to two swift breaks in the third and rescuing two break points to serve out the match in style.

"I think if I'm facing Rafa, I'm not the one who has the pressure". He canceled the third one with a fine drop shot close to the net.

When play resumed on Thursday, however, Nadal returned to his dominance at Roland-Garros.

Nadal said he was a "bit lucky" the match was halted by rain. By winning it all, every three out of four times (or even better), they have inarguably dominated the surface during the peaks of their powers. There may be some shocking results over two sets, but three are different.

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.

When Schwartzman broke in the third game of the second set, the alarm bells were ringing in the Nadal camp and although he quickly levelled he was immediately broken again.

Thiem's massive forehand allowed him to race into a 5-2 lead in the tiebreak.

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