Nadal has Schwartzman battle on his hands

Rafael Nadal in action against Diego Schwartzman

Against del Potro, Nadal did not record a single ace and converted only 61 percent of his first serves.

So nerves could come into play in the early going against Nadal, who will be bidding for his 17th major title overall. Nadal is 49-0 against everyone else on his preferred surface in 2017 and 2018.

The third quickly disappeared as well and Cecchinato had set points of his own, but Thiem finally put the Italian away before going on to win 7-5 7-6 (12/10) 6-1. The matchup was the first All-American semifinal match at Roland Garros since 2002.

Top-ranked Simona Halep has rallied past Angelique Kerber 6-7 (2), 6-3, 6-2 to reach the French Open semifinals.

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Then again, Thiem upended Nadal in Rome previous year before being thumped by the Spaniard in the French Open semifinals weeks later 6-3 6-4 6-0. No. 10 Sloane Stephens beat No. 13 Madison Keys 6-4, 6-4. She led Jelena Ostapenko by a set and 3-0 in last year's final at Roland Garros.

Cecchinato's catalogue of drop shots which helped account for Novak Djokovic kept Thiem on his toes throughout, but once the pivotal tie-break went the seventh seed's way Cecchinato's unlikely run was all but over.

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Cilic responded well to level the match and seemed to assume control as he broke early in the third. The world No. 12 won a set off the Spaniard, marking the end of Nadal's 37-set win streak in Paris.

This time, Thiem instead faced Cecchinato, a 25-year-old from Sicily who never had won a Grand Slam match until this tournament and was the lowest-ranked men's semifinalist at the clay-court major in 19 years.

You don't get to a Grand Slam semi-final by accident. But she fell apart and eventually lost to the unseeded Latvian in her second French Open final.

But they face stiff competition in the final against Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut.

While Nadal is used to the pressure, Thiem will be playing in his first Grand Slam showpiece.

In the third game, Schwartzman missed three points in a row and then lost the game when he missed a drop attempt.

So what will he need to do to counter the credible threat of Thiem, the only man to beat him on clay this year, on Sunday?

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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.

The Austrian will face the victor of Juan Martin del Potro and Rafael Nadal. Their semifinal is later Friday.

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

"I can not believe it now", Karin Thiem, a tennis coach, told a group of reporters.

Schwartzman had a point to lead 4-2 but a forehand error allowed Nadal off the hook. And Francis Roig (Nadal's coach) said: You have to win another tournament to play with him!

Baez defeated Thiago Seyboth Wild of Brazil 6-2, 6-2, while Tseng advanced past second-seeded Sebastian Korda of the United States 6-2, 7-5 in the semifinals. He will now be looking to win a record 11th grand slam title of the tournament.

Thiem is appearing in the final four at Roland Garros for the third consecutive time.

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And on the penultimate point of the semifinal, after being run ragged, the 2009 US Open victor could only offer up a smile.

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