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Nadal moves to Open final

Nadal moves to Open final

Nadal goes past Borg's record of six titles and ends Djokovic's bid to be the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to hold all four majors.

"I got a little lucky". However, after the game, Nadal revealed that he was struggling against Del Potro in the first set.

The third quickly disappeared as well and Cecchinato had set points of his own, but Thiem finally put the Italian away before going on to win 7-5 7-6 (12/10) 6-1. He then went on to beat Nadal in straight sets in Madrid and seemed on course for a first Masters title before collapsing to Alexander Zverev in the finals and then losing to Fabio Fognini in the first round of the next Masters in Rome.

"But I have a plan".

Relentless Nadal broke to love at the start of the third, and as he moved on to match point an exhausted Del Potro paused for breath, bent double, as if he had been punched in the stomach. I have been on court just couple of minutes ago. "I would back him to win, even at seventy-five per cent efficiency".

"I think also a good thing is that I faced him already twice here".

The No. 1-ranked Nadal compiled a 35-20 edge in winners while making only 19 unforced errors Friday.

This was the No. 5-seeded del Potro's first semifinal at Roland Garros since 2009.

"That's why the guy was dominating clay-court tennis the last 14 years like no one else before and nobody ever will". In the fourth game Friday, del Potro clutched at his left hip after being wrong-footed by one shot from Nadal and was visited by a doctor at the next changeover.

Too good for almost everyone, nearly every time, on clay.

Dominic Thiem celebrates his semifinal victory over Marco Cecchinato at the French Open on June 8.
Matthew Stockman  
Getty Images
Dominic Thiem celebrates his semifinal victory over Marco Cecchinato at the French Open on June 8. Matthew Stockman Getty Images

In 2009, del Potro beat Rafael Nadal in the semifinals of the US Open, and five-time defending champion Roger Federer in the finals. He looks like he is nearly back to his best this season having picked up two titles, which includes winning his first Masters Series title with a three set win over Federer at Indian Wells.

World 72 Cecchinato had knocked out three seeded players to reach the semi-finals, including 12-time major victor Novak Djokovic in the quarter-finals.

While Thiem faces an nearly impossible task on Sunday, Nadal was taking nothing for granted against the man who beat him in Madrid. After a tough first set, Nadal jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the second set and rolled, 6-4, 6-1, 6-2.

"We'll play Parchis [Spanish board game] and we'll let Rafa win so that he's happy before the final", joked Moya.

The 24-year-old Austrian, widely considered the second-best player on clay right now, has a decent record against Nadal and, for the second year in a row, he is the only player to have beaten the Spaniard on clay coming into Roland Garros, after snapping his run of 50 sets in a row when they met in the quarter-finals in Madrid last month.

The 25-year-old was banned for match-fixing in 2016, a penalty overturned on appeal.

Yesh Ginsburg, Last Word on Tennis: "Nadal has looked vulnerable at times this tournament, but Thiem just plays way too far behind the baseline to be able to challenge Nadal over five sets".

"When (Thiem) is dominating the point, he is very risky".

Cecchinato, who upset Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals after winning two pulsating tiebreaks, rallied and even held three set points prior to Thiem triumphing 12-10.





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