Thiem ends Cecchinato's French Open dream run

Thiem ends Cecchinato's French Open dream run

Nadal appeared to be suffering with cramp in his left arm early in the third but even that discomfort could not derail him as the "King of Clay" extended his scarcely believable French Open win-loss record to 86-2, further underlining his status as the greatest of all time on the red dirt.

"Because if you stay behind the baseline against Dominic, he can take advantage of it", Toni Nadal said.

But at 4-5 Thiem's serve let him down badly, handing Nadal three set points.

Cecchinato had never won a Grand Slam match before this year's Roland Garros but made the semis with a string of stunning wins.He put out seeded players Pablo Carreno Busta and David Goffin before the seismic shock of knocking out 2016 champion Djokovic in the quarter-finals.

"He's a big favorite against everybody", said Thiem, who reached his first Grand Slam final by ending the out-of-nowhere run of 72nd-ranked Marco Cecchinato of Italy 7-5, 7-6 (10), 6-1.

The Czech pair beat second-seeded Andrea Sestini Hlavackova and Barbora Strycova 6-3, 6-2. The Spanish ace dropped the first set and was down 3-2 in the second before a rain break swung the momentum in his favour.

Nadal sealed his place with a convincing 6-4 6-1 6-2 win over Juan Martin del Potro to reach an 11th French Open final.

The first set was a tight affair, with Thiem claiming the decisive break in the 11th game but the Italian retained his composure to send the second to a tie-break.

Throw in three titles at the U.S. Open, two at Wimbledon and one at the Australian Open, and Nadal is up to 17 majors, second among men only to Roger Federer's 20. "Without working hard and going through tough moments and still being focused on your passion for the game it is impossible to be here".

Next up for Thiem is either Nadal, who is eyeing his 11th French Open title, or Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina.

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Nadal said of his cramp: "I was very, very scared".

"When asked why he still felt stress before resuming on Thursday despite all of his past achievements, Nadal said: "(Because) I am a human person. That led to 34 winners (eight more than Nadal) but also 42 unforced errors (18 more than Nadal).

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

"It was a really close tiebreak and I didn't want that especially after I missed an easy volley at 6/4".

Just 45 percent of Thiem's first serves went in, compared to Nadal's 65 percent.

Thiem had too much, though, battling to take the first two sets and then cruising through the third to earn his shot at the title.

A few hours earlier, as Nadal and Thiem warmed up, the booming voice of the announcer at Court Philippe Chatrier detailed the bona fides of both.

The Argentine has never beaten Nadal on clay.

Del Potro will be his opponent on Friday after eliminating No. 3 seed Marin Cilic 7-6 (5), 5-7, 6-3, 7-5 to make into the semifinals for the first time since 2009.

The No. 6-seeded pairing from the Czech Republic beat Eri Hozumi and Makoto Ninomiya of Japan 6-3, 6-3 on Sunday.

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