French Open Final: Thiem to shock in side markets

WATCH: Del Potro directs frustration at Paris spectator

Del Potro Can Trouble Nadal During Semi-Final Clash, Wilander Says

Dominic Thiem was playing his third straight French Open semi-final.

The Czech pair beat second-seeded Andrea Sestini Hlavackova and Barbora Strycova 6-3, 6-2.

"But let's not get ahead of ourselves since there is a final to be played on Sunday, and Dominic Thiem has done enough in the last couple of years to establish himself as an accomplished clay court player".

Thiem, 24, has a losing record against both Nadal (3-6) and Del Potro (0-4) but he is the only man to have defeated the Spaniard on clay in the last two years.

Rafael Nadal celebrates his singles semi-final win over Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina at the French Open at Roland Garros.

Cecchinato had never won a grand slam match until the French Open. For me it's incredible.

He did not look unduly affected though and his heavy groundstrokes took a toll on Nadal who rescued three more break points in the ninth game.

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A superb backhand crosscourt pass helped Nadal to make the crucial break and with it wrap up the opening set in 54 minutes, but what followed was a procession as Del Potro struggled to contain his frustrations at missing crucial chances to establish a lead.

Del Potro certainly has the firepower to trouble Nadal.

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

Sunday offers up an opportunity not just to witness his mesmerizing, ever-reliable talent on clay, but also a shot for his third Grand Slam in the past five of those events. Nadal is 56-8 in final appearances on clay in her career and has won nine of his last 10 final appearances overall. "And so that puts the bar really high and the pressure is at its maximum, that's why he's so tough to beat".

Wilander believes Thiem can worry Nadal if he is prepared to "take risks" like Diego Schwartzman did in the quarter-finals when he snapped the left-hander's run of 37 consecutive completed sets won at the French Open by snatching the opener.

"Of course it's very important to have a good recovery now".

Where do I watch the matches live on television?

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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.

Yet Thiem's recovery was exceptional, moving out of sight with a ruthless second break and a confident hold to wrap up the opener.

It is as simple as it is hard: Thiem will likely need the best match of his life to earn his first major tennis title.

Two breaks later Nadal was in a familiar position, serving for the title, and when another Thiem forehand dropped long, his arms were raised in celebration, yet again.

Thiem grabbed a 2-0 head start in the first set as his powerful serve was fully charged and his approach to the net ruthless against a nervy Cecchinato.

The second set turned into a tight tactical battle with neither able to break serve. He beat him this year at the Madrid Masters.

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.

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"Otherwise, it's not a very nice feeling".

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