Nadal-del Potro, Thiem-Cecchinato in French Open semifinals

Nadal-del Potro, Thiem-Cecchinato in French Open semifinals

Cecchinato had never won a grand slam match until the French Open.

They tried their best to rouse their man in the third set but it was mission impossible as Nadal, clubbing the ball as if his life depended on it, finished like a raging bull as he headed into his 24th Grand Slam final.

Someone in the stands cried out during his serve, disrupting his focus as he double faulted and handed Cilic a critical break for 5-4 in the second set. Nadal racked up 18 winners in the fourth set to capture the match, ultimately overpowering Schwartzman.

ITV 1 will show live coverage of the French Open men's final from 1.30pm. Juan Martin del Potro took his frustration out on a fan during his quarterfinal Roland Garros encounter with Marin Cilic-though he couldn't quite figure out which spectator to zone in on. Nadal has won 11 straight matches on clay court.

French Open men's final: Nadal vs Thiem What time does the final start?

Schwartzman missed four break points at 5-2 as Nadal eventually held serve to lead for the first time with approaching three hours on the clock.

"I'm very happy to return to the final at Roland Garros", he said. He is 10-0 in French Open finals and 77-0 at the tournament overall when he wins the first set, so getting a jump on him early - a tactic far easier to write about than to execute - would seem to be a fairly obvious strategy.

In order to get a shot to defeat Nadal on clay, Thiem had to first get past an improbable semifinalist, No. 72 Marco Cecchinato, which no one else had managed to do at this edition of Roland Garros. 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.

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. 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.

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"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".

"I'm facing Rafa so I'm not the one who has the pressure", said Thiem.

"It's the same old refrain with Rafael Nadal but there's two things I keep on hearing in analysis about beating him". It marks the world No. 6's first French Open semifinal since 2009. 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. Coincidentally, the only time he has looked in any danger was on day 11 when Diego Schwartzman, the 11th seed, took the only set of the tournament off him.

Nadal can become just the second male player in the Open era to reach 11 finals at the same Grand Slam tournament, equaling Roger Federer's record at Wimbledon.

"If I lost that tie-break it would have been a very close match and I didn't want that".

Thiem is responsible for both of those losses - at Rome in May 2017, and at Madrid last month - which at least lends a little intrigue to Sunday's proceedings.

Schwartzman took the opening set 6-4, ending Nadal's streak of 37 consecutive completed sets at Roland Garros before rain arrived on Wednesday.

Women's semifinals: No. 1 Simona Halep beat No. 3 Garbine Muguruza 6-1, 6-4.

Stephens beat Keys in last year's U.S. Open final.

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