Rafael Nadal beats Juan Martin del Potro to reach French Open final

Rafael Nadal beats Juan Martin del Potro to reach French Open final

Thiem will face either 10-time champion, and world number one, Rafael Nadal or Juan Martin del Potro, the fifth-seeded Argentine, in Sunday's final.

Only two players have managed to beat Nadal at the French Open since he first bounded into Roland Garros in 2005 armed with a bulging left bicep, pirate trousers and a pulverising brand of claycourt tennis the like of which had not been seen before. He will now be looking to win a record 11th grand slam title of the tournament.

While Thiem beat Marco Cecchinato in first semi-final to reach his first Grand Slam final.

The seventh-seeded Austrian ended Nadal's record-breaking run of 50 successive sets won on clay at the Madrid Open earlier this season, while he also saw off the Spaniard in last year's Internazionali d'Italia.

The seventh seed lost to Nadal at the semi-final stage in the French capital previous year however and will be in uncharted territory when he plays the defending champion.

And the only man to beat Nadal on clay past year was Thiem. That's exactly what he did in Madrid, and no tennis player could have withstood such a barrage as the world #8 delivered.

"He's an wonderful player", Nadal said. After breaking Nadal's serve to take the ninth game, Schwartzman hit a forehand victor at 40-30 to take the first set 6-4.

"It was a good second and third set for me, of course, and a good hold in the first", Nadal said afterward.

"To beat Nadal in Paris, on the center court in the finals, I think this is, it's not impossible, but it's maybe one of the biggest (challenges) you can have in tennis".

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

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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.

It rarely is for Nadal at a place he has lorded over the way no other man ever has at any Grand Slam tournament.

"Forget the 10 (French Open titles) and forget what happened past year, 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.

"I need to regenerate and have a good breakfast to keep up my good level".

Del Potro had required treatment on a hip problem suffered early in the first set and he visibly wilted in the second, raising his arms in mock celebration when he won a solitary game while already 5-0 behind. But I know how to play against him.

Nadal acknowledged that Thiem has been a "very complex" opponent. Cecchinato, who upset Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals after winning two pulsating tiebreaks, rallied and even held three set points prior to Thiem triumphing 12-10.

"Everybody knows that I was close to quitting this sport two years ago, but then I, for one reason, I never give up", said Del Potro.

"Today‚ all day‚ on Philippe Chatrier‚ the fans said "Forza‚ Marco"‚ so I think this is the best moment for me‚" said Cecchinato.

However, having squandered one set point, he went in for a simple backhand volley victor only to dump it into the net.

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