Nadal set to clash with Thiem

Nadal set to clash with Thiem

"He is a nightmare opponent for Nadal", Wilander said about Del Potro, as quoted on Tennis World USA. Injuries have hampered the King of Clay throughout the past year.

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

Nadal, who already has more titles at a single Grand Slam than any men's player in history with his 10 French Open wins, can collect his 17th career major with a win Sunday. The Italian succumbed quickly in the third set, sparing the French Open from a final in which his past match-fixing case would have been rehashed under a global spotlight.

"If he continues with this desire, he can win many more times, like Federer for Wimbledon, and other major tournaments", said Del Potro whose own Grand Slam collection remains stuck on one - his 2009 US Open breakthrough.

Earlier, the Japanese duo won 6-2, 6-2 against Hao-Ching Chan of Taiwan and Zhaoxuan Yang of China 6-2, 6-2.

Halep will face Stephens after the US Open victor maintained her ideal record against fellow American Madison Keys with a 6-4 6-4 win in the other semi-final.

The 16th-seeded Gauff, who is 14 years old, beat 15th-seeded Leylah Annie Fernandez of Canada 6-4, 6-3. Both players dropped serve four times.

But if there is a tad of intrigue entering this final, it is because of what happened in Rome on May 19, 2017, and in Madrid on May 11, 2018. Hopefully today will be an exception, and the enduringly popular Juan Martin del Potro will at least give the 10-time champion Rafael Nadal a fright. He looks like he is nearly back to his best this season having picked up two titles, which includes winning his first Masters Series title with a three set win over Federer at Indian Wells.

Gaining a lead and a psychological advantage over Del Potro, the top seed cranked through the gears to earn straight set victories in the semi-final match.

Rafael Nadal powered his way into the French Open final and then claimed he can still move up another gear.

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"I saved two set points and luckily I won it".

Del Potro, the 2009 U.S. Open champion, has a 1-3 record in Grand Slam semis.

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

Thiem, the No. 7 seed, reached his first Grand Slam final by ending the surprising run of 72nd-ranked Marco Cecchinato of Italy with a powerful 7-5, 7-6 (10), 6-1 victory Friday.

Bresnik likes Thiem's current state of mind and form after encouraging him to play at the low-level ATP event in Lyon, France, the week before Roland Garros.

Nadal might not be able to get away with a nervy start against an opponent like Thiem, who is the only player to defeat him on clay in the build-up to Roland Garros over the past two seasons.

"He's an fantastic player", Nadal said of Thiem. Their semifinal is later Friday. Given the wet forecast and the fact Thiem has beaten Nadal on clay each of the last three seasons, I'm going for a huge upset.

The burly Argentine recovered his usual unflustered demeanour, hitting back from 0-2 to take the third set.

"Ten years ago, it was Rafa and Roger, and now it's always the same".

Del Potro is playing in the French Open semifinals for the first time in nine years. However, full marks to Thiem for finishing the match in clinical style and making the semifinals once again. And of course, with it being on clay, Nadal is an overwhelming favorite.

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