Dominic Thiem ends Cecchinato fairytale to reach French Open final

ImageThe two men’s quarterfinals scheduled for Wednesday were suspended because

The No. 7-seeded Thiem reached the first Grand Slam final of his career by ending the surprising run of 72nd-ranked Marco Cecchinato of Italy at Roland Garros with a powerful performance in a 7-5, 7-6 (10), 6-1 victory Friday.

"I think that was my chance of the match", del Potro said of the break points he held at 4-all in the opening set of Nadal's 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 blitz.

"He is a nightmare opponent for Nadal", three-times French champion Wilander, hosting Eurosport's flagship Game, Schett and Mats programme at Roland Garros, told Reuters.

"It's impossible without hard work and going through tough moments".

"You have to be focussed and keep your passion for the game".

He appeared nearly overcome with emotion after reaching his first French Open semi-final since 2009, when he was beaten by eventual champion Roger Federer.

He buckled at 5-5, though, and sent a backhand long on break point, leaving Del Potro to serve for the match, which he did easily as Cilic missed with three more backhands.

In the final, he will meet Dominic Thiem.

The former US Open champion, who nearly retired from the sport two years ago after persistent wrist injuries, had said he would make a "last-minute decision" on his Roland Garros participation after suffering a leg injury at the Rome Masters. Being in a final here is something I should rejoice about and be happy about.

Nadal, who has lifted the trophy every time he has reached the last four at Roland Garros, broke to love at the start of the third and went on to register a comprehensive straight-sets victory. The win takes him to his 11th French Open final.

The world number one had looked out of sorts in damp conditions on Wednesday as Schwartzman bombarded him with winners to cause him all sorts of problems, with the Argentine leading by a set and a break when the players were first called off court due to rain. "That's why he's the No 1 and beating all the guys", said Del Potro. I had a lot of break points.

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Nadal compiled a 35-20 edge in winners while making only 19 unforced errors against del Potro, the 2009 US Open champion.

He is at last facing someone from a younger tennis generation instead of contemporaries like Novak Djokovic, 31, or an elder like Roger Federer, who will turn 37 in August.

"I think that was my chance of the match. He deserved to win".

"He's too strong. He's improving his backhand a lot".

Only 24, and still in the ATP players' characteristic erratic phase, it was evident from his reactions that he felt the pressure of being the favourite.

"The big key was the second set", he said.

"It was a really close tiebreak and I didn't want that especially after I missed an easy volley at 6/4".

"Not a very nice feeling", Thiem said.

"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.

The 29-year-old powerhouse´s eighth successive defeat of Cilic set up a clash with 10-times champion Rafael Nadal. However, I said that I'd be shocked if Cecchinato defeated Djokovic, and he managed that feat, so the Italian clay-courter can not be completely written off in advance. Over the past two years, including best-of-three matches, the Spaniard is 49-2 at clay tournaments.

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