Cecchinato vows to prove French semi-final was no fluke

2018 French Open Thiem battles past Cecchinato to reach first Grand Slam final

Rafael Nadal has defeated Dominic Thiem 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 to win a record-extending 11th title at the French Open.

Top seed Nadal has an impressive record at the Roland Garros, winning 85 of his 87 matches played in the annual tournament so far.

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.Seventh seed Thiem is the first Austrian to make a final at the majors since Thomas Muster was champion in Paris in 1995.

Thiem is the only man to beat Nadal on clay in the last two seasons - in Madrid this year and Rome in 2017.

THE only man to beat Rafael Nadal on clay in two years, Dominic Thiem has earned the right to press for the ultimate: the Spaniard's French Open crown.

"I think it helps, definitely, knowing that you were the last guy to beat him", said Bresnik, whose association with Thiem spans more than 15 years.

The victor of 10 French, three US Open, two Wimbledon and one Australian Open titles has won 87 of his 89 matches at the French. The Austrian won just one of the first nine points as Nadal immediately broke for 2-0.

Both players contributed to an entertaining start, but Thiem quickly took control, breaking through in the opening game and then comfortably holding easily. "Then I converted the important one".

Ominously for Thiem, Nadal said: "My feeling is I have a very hard match against a player that is playing great".

Nadal is 49-0 in all other clay-court contests over the past two seasons.

Del Potro missed six break points in the opener, including three at 4-4.

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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.

"Forget the 10 (French Open titles) and forget what happened a year ago, Thiem has to remember what happened in Madrid which is a title Nadal wants to win nearly as much as the French", Wilander, Eurosport's chief analyst, told Reuters.

The second set tie-break proved to be decisive as the Italian player squandered three set points, having recovered from a 6-3 deficit, reports Efe. I know I have to play my best if I want to have chances. "I am a little bit fortunate to win the first set".

"He's a big favorite against everybody", Thiem said.

Nadal acknowledged that Thiem has been a "very complex" opponent.

He said: "If I had won the second set, I think it would have been a totally different third set".

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

Up in the stands, Nadal's uncle Toni, his former coach, was nervous, too, "because I thought maybe we can have a problem", he said.

Rattled by the Italian's revival, Thiem clicked into overdrive - and aided by Cecchinato unforced errors - clinched a crucial break for 6-5 by crunching a forehand victor.

That win, according to three-times former champion Mats Wilander, should be all Thiem is thinking about when he prepares for Sunday's clash.

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