Nadal to clash with Thiem in final

Ross Houston
June 13, 2018

Thiem will face either 10-time champion, and world number one, Rafael Nadal or Juan Martin del Potro, the fifth-seeded Argentine, in Sunday's final.

However, Nadal has won both their clashes at Roland Garros - in 2014 and in last year's semi-finals by a comfortable 6-3, 6-4, 6-0 margin.

The Italian, who had never won a Grand Slam match before the tournament, faces seventh seed Thiem in the last four.

Cecchinato, who up until this year's Roland Garros never got past the first round of a Grand Slam event, did not look the same in the third set, as he hit just one victor, committing eight unforced errors.

Thiem beat Nadal in Madrid Open in May and has been the second best player during the clay season.

The Austrian was the only man to beat 10-times Paris champion Rafael Nadal on clay this season.


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

"Thiem is an incredible player".

A fourth set point for Thiem vanished because of one of Cecchinato's many drop shots.

"If it's going to be him on Sunday, I will try everything so that my plan is also going to work out a little bit here and not only in Madrid or in Rome".

A sumptuous cross-court backhand victor by Nadal handed him a double-break in the fifth game and it wasn't long after before he closed out proceedings in two hours and 14 minutes to take his place in Sunday's showpiece against Thiem, who he enjoys a 6-3 head-to-head record against.

"To beat Nadal in Paris, on the center court in the finals, I think this is, it's not impossible, but it's maybe one of the biggest (challenges) you can have in tennis".


Del Potro had required the doctor early in the first set after appearing to jar his ankle in the red clay.

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. Although he lost the first point of the fourth game, a ideal drop shot got Schwartzman to 15-all, and a backhand victor from followed by a drop shot gave Nadal a second break an 4-1 lead. I expect that he will be a really good player on clay.

There was a sense of inevitability in the air when Del Potro served at 4-5 and sure enough Nadal turned the screws to grab two set points at 15-40.

"I think that was my chance of the match". 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.

"I'm feeling so, so happy to make the right decision to play here".

"I came here without big expectations", said 2009 US Open champion Del Potro who has flirted with retirement on numerous occasions after a career-long battle with wrist injuries. Cecchinato was accused of match-fixing and suspended for 18 months in 2016, but he appealed, and his punishment was dropped on a technicality.


Increasingly frustrated at Cecchinato's resistance, Thiem lost his composure completely in the second set.

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