Nadal moves to Open final

WATCH: Del Potro directs frustration at Paris spectator

"It is nearly impossible to beat Rafa", said Del Potro who had his chances in the semi-final but failed to convert any of his seven break points before his challenge petered out into tired hopelessness.

If Nadal's march toward an 11th championship at Roland Garros was going to be stopped on this day, things were going to have to go del Potro's way right then. "It was nearly impossible to beat Nadal".

Rafael Nadal thrashed Juan Martin del Potro in straight sets on Friday to storm into his 11th French Open final.

Del Potro edged the early exchanges even though the scoreboard showed parity, testing Nadal on his service games and earning six break points as a result.

There is hope for Thiem though as both of Nadal's two losses on clay in the past two years have come against the Austrian.

"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.

Austria’s Dominic Thiem will meet Rafael Nadal in the French Open final Sunday. Thiem defeated Marco Cecchinato in Friday’s semifinal 7-5 7-6
Austria’s Dominic Thiem will meet Rafael Nadal in the French Open final Sunday. Thiem defeated Marco Cecchinato in Friday’s semifinal 7-5 7-6

In this tournament, Nadal's only lost one set.

"He's one of the best players in the world on this surface", Nadal told reporters. "I was just focused and try to hold the situation and just trying to be positive on every point, no?" "I'll try my best and hopefully do better than previous year". If he wins the game, OK.

"The weather, I watched a bit of footage of the (Robin) Soderling victory over Nadal here in 2009". "That's the only way for me to approach the tough moments".

The men's showpiece match between Nadal and Thiem takes place on Court Philippe-Chatrier and starts at 2pm (UK time).

Nadal crushed Del Potro's spirit with the intensity of his tennis in the second set, bounding 5-0 ahead before the Argentine registered a game to lift the spirits of his fans.

There have, however, appeared to be one or two chinks in Nadal's armour at Roland Garros this year.

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Nadal and Thiem have met nine times - all of them on clay.

There was cause for concern, also, when Nadal quit with a leg injury in the fifth set of his quarter-final against Marin Cilic at the Australian Open this year, heightened when he then withdrew from hard-court tournaments in Acapulco, Indian Wells and Miami - but he has blossomed on the red dirt of Europe.

His record at Roland Garros now stands at 85 wins and two defeats.

"To beat him on clay, I would say the only chance for any player now is to be really aggressive". The No. 1 men's tennis player in the world cruised on Friday - looking vintage in domination -, who entered the French Open semis as No. 6 player in the ATP World Tour rankings.

In the women's draw, Halep is yet to win a grand slam title but looks ominously ready to break her duck at Roland Garros when she faces Sloane Stephens in the decider on Saturday.

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

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For Thiem, however, the challenge will be to go one step further as all his victories so far have been in three setters.

"It was not a very nice feeling", Thiem said.

When Thiem's set point No 4 and 5 were saved with a botched volley and a brilliant drop volley respectively, it looked like the tide might just change in the tiebreak as it had against Djokovic.

Thiem had to weather three set points for Cecchinato, at 7-6, 9-8 and 10-9.

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