Thiem and Nadal win in straight sets to reach French Open final

French Open: Ruthless Rafael Nadal punishes Juan Martin del Potro in semi-final

Nadal overcomes nerves to meet del Potro in French Open semi-finals

So if anyone could head into the French Open final with even the slightest reason to think there's a chance of preventing Nadal from winning a record-extending 11th championship at Roland Garros, it is his opponent Sunday.

"Because if you stay behind the baseline against Dominic, he can take advantage of it", Toni Nadal said. After a harrowing first two sets, Thiem needed only 21 minutes to win the clinching set.

"And if he would have won the tiebreak, he would be full power, for sure, in the third set".

The 16-time Grand Slam champion has won the tournament 10 times. So there was mild concern when Nadal called for the trainer midway through a game, requiring treatment on what looked like cramp in his hand.

On the resumption of play, Nadal held his two service points to take the second set 6-3.

The injury-prone Argentine had a discussion with Dr. Bernard Montalvan during the changeover, with Nadal leading 3-2 in the first set.

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In his quest for an eleventh title at Roland Garros, the king of clay will face Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina while Marco Cechinnato of Italy will slug it out with Austria's Dominic Thiem.

Thiem improved on serve during the second set, facing zero break points, but he was not able to seize on any of the three break points as the set went to the tie break.

The 32-year-old Spaniard is also vying for his 17th major trophy, which would move him within three of Roger Federer. "I will try everything that my plan is going to work out a little bit here and not only in Madrid or in Rome".

Nadal is 85-2 for his French Open career, 110-2 in all best-of-fives on clay. After a tough first set, Nadal jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the second set and rolled, 6-4, 6-1, 6-2.

"I think it is possible to compete every day. against players from the top 10, top 20, top 30", said Cecchinato, whose next stop will be the Wimbledon warm-up tournament in Eastbourne.

Thiem is the only player to beat Nadal on red clay over the past two seasons.

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The 24-year-old Austrian, playing his first Grand Slam final, made 18 unforced errors in losing the first set, and hit 11 clean winners. You don't get to a Grand Slam semi-final by accident.

Nadal held for 5-4, and Thiem basically handed over the next game - and the set - with four mistakes.

By then, Nadal was finding his spots.

Nadal is looking as comfortable as ever on the Philippe Chatrier court where has previously won the title 10 times.

The injury-plagued former US Open champion Del Potro wept courtside after beating third seed Cilic to reach the last four for the second time, but first in nine years.

And the underdog soon faded as Thiem kicked on, racing to two swift breaks in the third and rescuing two break points to serve out the match in style.

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And despite a late stutter as Schwartzman saved three match points, Nadal wrapped up victory to keep alive his hopes of equalling Margaret Court's record of winning a single Grand Slam singles title 11 times.

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