Rafa Nadal books French final showdown with Dominic Thiem

Rafa Nadal books French final showdown with Dominic Thiem

Rafa Nadal books French final showdown with Dominic Thiem

Both men knew that full well.

"When you don't take your chances against the No. 1 in the world, you are are in trouble", del Porto said.

Nadal is now just the second man to reach 11 finals at the same Slam, equaling Roger Federer's mark at Wimbledon.

On Friday as well, he held his nerves at the crutch moment - when he faced three set points in the second set tiebreak and worked his way back from fudging his own share of five set points.

The Spaniard had won a tight first set with a score of 6-4.

Austria's Dominic Thiem celebrates after winning his semi final match against Italy's Marco Cecchinato.

"Sometimes you play better, sometimes you are more nervous".

"And I have to have a clear plan at the time of coming out on the court". He went down to Nadal and Stefanos Tsitsipas in the quarters at Monte Carlo and in Barcelona. So when I had the chances, I just tried to convert. "I never dreamed in 2005 when I played my first final here that I would be in another one". If he wins the game, OK.

This was the No. 5-seeded del Potro's first semifinal at Roland Garros since 2009.

"It's been a lot of years of playing and doing the same things every year".

Patrick Mouratoglou, coach of Serena Williams and commentator for Eurosport, believes Thiem has the game to upset Nadal, but he'll need to execute his game plan perfectly. "But I guess the way he's been playing the last three sets yesterday and the last two sets today is going to help give him confidence", said Moya on Friday. "I'll try my best and hopefully do better than a year ago".

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Too good for almost everyone, nearly every time, on clay.

They do not call Rafael Nadal the King of Clay for nothing - his dominance on the surface speaks volumes, and since taking an enforced break to get over injuries, he returned to the clay even more formidable than ever - if that is possible.

He beat the Spaniard in the Madrid quarter-finals this year having won in the Rome last-eight in 2017. I mean, not many players can beat him on clay. He lost to eventual champions Novak Djokovic in 2016 and Nadal in 2017.

In Saturday's women's final, number one Simona Halep of Romania will face number 10 Sloane Stephens of the United States.

After struggling in his quarterfinal against Diego Schwartzman, Nadal is approaching his best form ahead of the final and hopes are high that the Spanish star will emerge victorious. "He's a player that can be adapted more to the clay, it will be tough".

Thiem battled to a 7-5 7-6 and then walloped a clearly dejected Cecchinato 6-1 in the third to qualify for the final after making the semi-final on three consecutive occasions.

"It's his court, he has the keys and he has to take advantage of that", said Moya, referring to Nadal's track record at Philippe Chatrier stadium.

"After that, my level dropped".

Jun 8, 2018, Paris, France: Rafael Nadal (ESP) celebrates match point during his match against Juan Martin Del Potro (ARG) on day 13 of the 2018 French Open at Roland Garros.

Del Potro would recover to win the match, 7-6 (5), 5-7, 6-3, 7-5.

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