Nadal beats del Potro at French Open, faces Thiem for No. 11

Nadal beats del Potro at French Open, faces Thiem for No. 11

He beat Cecchinato, ranked 72 in the world, 7-5 7-6 (12-10) 6-1 and will meet either 10-time champion Nadal or Argentine Juan Martin del Potro in Sunday's final.

Although at times during the first set against Del Potro, especially when he was 0-40 down at 1-1 and 15-40 down at 4-4 it looked as though he might be in for a real scrap.

But the Austrian got nervous and wasted several set points, one of them when he shanked a routine volley at 6-4.

He did not look unduly affected though and his heavy groundstrokes took a toll on Nadal, who rescued three more break points in the ninth game, one with a sublime drop shot. It was cruise control for the 10-time Roland Garros champion from then on.

"I have a plan", he said.

People may point to the fact that Thiem recently beat Nadal in his own backyard in Madrid, as it were, but there are few things to remember here. But yes it happened in the last two matches.

"The second-set tiebreak was the big key to the match, 100 percent, because obviously he felt all the matches from these two weeks after that".

"We will talk about that [nervous starts]".

"I feel the pressure every day, but not here".

Nadal seldom leaves the door cracked very long.

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Sunday's showdown may represent Thiem's best chance of winning a grand slam so far, but the Austrian has attempted to downplay the situation by living up to his underdog tag. "I'll pretend that I'm angry but it's a tactic".

Over the past two seasons, Nadal is 49-2 on red clay, with both losses coming against Thiem: in the quarterfinals at Rome in May 2017, and the quarterfinals at Madrid in May 2018.

Nadal is 85-2 for his French Open career, 110-2 in all best-of-fives on clay. 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, but said afterward it was not a big deal. So there is not 10 more chances to keep playing here.

Tseng Chun-hsin of Taiwan has won the boys' title at the French Open by defeating top-seeded Sebastian Baez of Brazil 7-6 (7/5), 6-2.

Mallorca's finest: Nadal and Moya.

"I can not believe it now", Karin Thiem, a tennis coach, told a group of reporters. "So now I'm really happy". Nadal's coach, Carlos Moya, told a small group of reporters it is something to be aware of but not to fixate on: "Not too much focus, otherwise it can get in your head and it's not helping".

"If you are legitimate about winning the match against Rafa, you have to try something", O'Shannessy said. He then held serve to bag the first set. For sure he is beatable, but you have to have the level, and Dominic has the level and you have to play the ideal match and the most important thing is you can't miss the occasions that you have.

Brett: I don't know if Rafael Nadal would've lost to Diego Schwartzman if there wasn't the delay, but the delay certainly didn't hurt the ten-time Roland Garros champion.

"It's hard to better the performance he had past year here", Moya said of Nadal's 2017 masterpiece. "He's improving every year".

Only two players have managed to beat Nadal at the French Open since he first bounded into Roland Garros in 2005 armed with a bulging left bicep, pirate trousers and a pulverising brand of claycourt tennis the like of which had not been seen before.