Thiem ends Cecchinato's French Open dream run

Austria's Dominic Thiem in action during his semi final match against It

Austria's Dominic Thiem in action during his semi final match against It

Nadal beat Stan Wawrinka in the 2017 French Open.

But the Austrian believes he is poised to break through, attempting to deflect pressure onto Nadal.

Nadal has now won 24 of his 27 Grand Slam semi-finals as he swept aside the threat of the Argentine in clinical fashion to set up a meeting with Dominic Thiem - the only man to have beaten him on the dirt in 2018 - in Sunday's final.

"I made three surgeries in my left wrist and I was close to quit (ting) this sport", Del Potro said, according to the Ronald Garros website.

"That was not a nice feeling". But on the other hand, it's so tough to go all the way in such a tournament.

"I think for me it's time to move on to make a great step, because I'm turning 25 (in September)".

Thiem clinically snuffed out Marco Cecchinato's Roland Garros fairytale in their semi-final, grinding the Italian into the famed red clay - but not without a fight.

Thiem‚ who was playing in his third successive French Open semi-final‚ admitted the second set had been a nervy encounter after needing five set points to get through it.

Nadal tightened his grip, going to 5-1 on another double break in the third set and sealed the match when Del Potro hit a backhand long.World 72 Cecchinato had knocked out three seeded players to reach the semi-finals, including 12-time major victor Novak Djokovic in the quarter-finals.But Thiem, 24, was too strong and now believes he has a particularly powerful weapon on his side for the final - breakfast.

The third set was dominated by Thiem, who raced to a 4-0, two-break lead in 12 minutes.

Anything can happen in a Grand Slam final.

Thiem is the only man to defeat 10-time French Open champion Nadal on clay this season.

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This was not the case during the first two tight sets between the Thiem and Cecchinato. This year they have met twice and split the wins, with Nadal destroying Thiem 6-0 6-2 in Monte Carlo and Thiem winning 7-5 6-3 in Madrid.

Sealing the set, he still could not shrug off the underdog.

However, having squandered one set point, he went in for a simple backhand volley victor only to dump it into the net.

After a gruelling and protracted struggle, Thiem finally regained control when Cecchinato netted a tired forehand.

By the sixth game of the opener, Cecchinato had claimed just one point off the Austrian's serve.

"The first set was very hard, there were lots of opportunities for Juan Martin del Potro and I was perhaps a little lucky to win it", Nadal said afterwards.

"To beat him on clay, I would say the only chance for any player now is to be really aggressive".

"It was a special tournament for me. Then I converted the important one".

But Thiem went for the kill in the seventh game, leaving an emotional Cecchinato to take the applause of the crowd.

Later Friday, Nadal looks to take another step closer to an 11th French Open title and 17th at the majors.

In 2016, Cecchinato was accused of match-fixing and suspended for 18 months, but he appealed, and his punishment was dropped on a technicality.

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