Rafael Nadal reaches record 11th French Open final

Diego Schwartzman was in control before the first rain interruption

Both men knew that full well.

Del Potro, whose height makes him less vulnerable against Nadal's top spin, should have gone for the jugular to disrupt Nadal's well-oiled routine on Court Philippe Chatrier, said Wilander.

But Nadal's domination on the Roland Garros clay, where his record now stands at 85-2, is without equal and he will be a huge favourite to beat Grand Slam final debutant Thiem.

By the absurd standards Nadal has set here, even facing those break points amount to a lapse, as does the opening set he dropped to the terrier-like Diego Schwartzman in the quarterfinals.

Thiem is clearly a live underdog in this match based on the amount of experience he has against Nadal on clay and the fact he's won 33.3 percent of those matches on a surface nearly nobody beats him on.

Nadal, who already has more titles at a single Grand Slam than any men's player in history with his 10 French Open wins, can collect his 17th career major with a win Sunday.

The 32-year-old Spaniard, with 16 majors to his name, will play his 24th Grand Slam final at Roland Garros against Dominic Thiem who is in his first.

"I played more aggressive", Nadal said, adding: "In my opinion, the match changed, no?" Del Potro has achieved great victories this year. That crucial early juncture altered the course of things, though.

"For that, I'm going to practice tomorrow with this idea in mind. I just enjoy the fact that I am here again".

"Sometimes he gets fired up but has this calm about him that I think worries Nadal and Federer". It is his most one-sided final win since allowing Federer just four games in the 2008 final.

Spain's Nadal will meet Dominic Thiem in Sunday's final. There will be a tiebreak in at least one other set as in-form Thiem gives Nadal his toughest game at this year's Open. So there are not 10 more chances to keep playing here.

Argentina's Juan Martin Del Potro waves to the spectators after losing his semi final match against Spain's Rafael Nadal.

Both players contributed to an entertaining start, but Thiem quickly took control, breaking through in the opening game and then comfortably holding easily.

"The big key was the second set, it was a close tie-break and if I lost it, I didn't want that because it would be a tough match", Thiem said.

"It was a good second and third set for me, and a good hold in the first".

Nadal and Thiem have met nine times - all of them on clay.

Despite preferring hard courts, he has won four clay court titles during his career and possesses a powerful game that Wilander thinks can trouble Nadal. Over the past two years, including best-of-three matches, the Spaniard is 49-2 at clay tournaments.

And the only man to beat Nadal on clay past year was Thiem.

I'm sticking to my guns in saying the world's second-best clay courter is a 36-year-old Swiss who opted not to play in this event, but Thiem's run to the final has cemented his status as the second-best clay court player who competed here. He lost at this stage to eventual champions Novak Djokovic in 2016 and Rafael Nadal in 2017. Stephens won last year's U.S. Open; Halep is 0-3 in major finals.

Nadal wrapped up that set by winning the first two points played Thursday and he was on his way, never relenting.

"We know Thiem can beat him", Cash said.



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