Nadal moves to Open final

Rafael Nadal lost his first set at Roland Garros since 2015

Del Potro had forced six break points during the first set but Nadal fended each one off.

The 16-year-old Tseng, who beat Australian Open champion Sebastian Korda of the USA in the semi-finals, came back from a break down in the first set to claim his first Grand Slam title.

With the two heavy favourites in the semi-finals winning, we have the final that most people during the latter stages would have wanted, Nadal v Thiem, and before I discuss the data in detail, I wanted to talk about their previous meetings a little more. "He beat me in Madrid, he has big power so I have to be at my best and improve", said Nadal. "Still, I know how to play against him". I hope to be ready to do it.

Rafael Nadal tries to win an 11th title at the French Open against Dominic Thiem, the only man to beat the top-ranked Spaniard on clay this season.

Marco Cecchinato has dropped his first service game against seventh-seeded Dominic Thiem in their French Open semifinal.

"It's not easy. I've been on court just a couple of minutes ago".

The Spaniard maintained his momentum to take a 2-0 lead in the second, executing the drop shot to perfection and making Del Potro run in the heat, claiming another break with a searing backhand. However, Nadal later revealed that he was "suffering" against the Gentle Giant in the first set of the match.

6-1 defeat of surprise semi-finalist Marco Cecchinato ended that miserable streak, and Thiem, who has already beaten Nadal on clay this season, could now face the defending champion in the tournament decider.

"For me, the motivation to play here always is high, high as possible". The last time Del Potro contended a Grand Slam final, he won it at the 2009 US Open.

In 2016, Nadal won two straight-set matches, then withdrew before the third round because of an injured left wrist.

More news: French Open 2018: Results, Highlights, Thursday Scores Recap from Roland-Garros

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

There was a sense of inevitability in the air when Del Potro served at 4-5 and sure enough Nadal turned the screws to grab two set points at 15-40.

He appeared to be in near peak form against del Potro - once the all important first set went in his favor.

However, Thiem not only possesses the kind of clay-court game and toolset to potentially beat Nadal, he has the rare experience of actually doing it.

The 10-time champion is playing Dominic Thiem.

Such is his motivation to win today, that the task facing Austrian 24-year-old Thiem was described as "almost impossible" by Del Potro, who believes that Nadal is playing better than he has for years.

"If I'd won the second set I think it is totally different, the third set", he said.

Despite some spirited resistance, the 11th seed couldn't live with Nadal's new-found intensity and revamped strategy, and the 16-time grand slam champion sealed the victory for the loss of only four games with his fourth match point.

Nadal will be chasing his 11th singles title here on Sunday, if rain does not push the final to next week.

Thiem had to weather three set points for Cecchinato, at 7-6, 9-8 and 10-9.

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