Nadal to face Thiem for French Open title

French Open: Ruthless Rafael Nadal punishes Juan Martin del Potro in semi-final

Argentina's Juan Martin del Potro on Thursday qualified for the semifinals of the French Open after he defeated Marin Cilic of Croatia 7-6, 5-7, 6-3, 7-5 in a two-day rain-delayed match. Nadal's introduction included a year-by-year accounting of every time he'd already won the French Open.

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

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, is a risky opponent.

"For me, the level is very good at the moment".

"Otherwise, it's not a very nice feeling".

The FFT topped up its overall prize money pot for this year's tournament by eight per cent to €39.2m, but diverted most of the increases to the lower reaches of the competition in a bid to narrow a gap between tennis' elite and middle classes. "But I think he's very enthusiastic".

Such is his motivation to win his 17th Grand Slam on Sunday, that the task facing Austrian 24-year-old Thiem was described as "almost impossible" by Del Potro.

In his 24th Grand Slam final‚ Nadal will face Thiem who ended Marco Cecchinato's French Open fairytale‚ reaching his first major final with a 7-5‚ 7-6 (12/10)‚ 6-1 victory.

Had Cecchinato not tightened in the second set, when he held three set points, it might have been a different result.

Rafael Nadal says he was "very scared" when he suffered cramp to his left hand in the third set of his French Open victory against Dominic Thiem.

Play has since resumed and Nadal now leads 4-2 in the third set.


"I don't have any obligation to win, first thing".

Regarded as Nadal's natural successor, Thiem unleashed a searing bombardment on the Italian before the contest became complicated.

Thiem was on the couch, watching on TV, in 2005, when Nadal earned his first Grand Slam trophy in Paris at age 19. The Argentine dropped the second set against the Croat but came back strong to take the match 7-6 (5), 5-7, 6-3, 7-5.

At long last, Thiem converted his fifth set point when Cecchinato sent a forehand long. 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.

"For me, the motivation to play here is always high, as high as possible", he said. I felt that I was playing a little bit under more stress than usual, and he was able to take control of the point too many times.

"It was a special tournament for me". I know he has great potential.

One big difference in this meeting is that those two matches that went Thiem's way were best-of-three-set events.

Serving to stay in the match at 4-5, the Austrian allowed mistakes to creep into his game.

Cecchinato's career has been hindered by his links to a match-fixing scandal; he was banned for 18 months in 2016 before having the suspension overturned.

By winning five matches at the highest level, the Sicilian will climb to No 18 next week and pocket $870,000 prizemoney - nearly doubling his career haul.

Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters and James Bond actress Lea Seydoux have unveiled the Musketeers Cup that will be won by either Rafael Nadal or Dominic Thiem in the French Open final.

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