June 23, 2018

Watch Nadal vs del Potro online, start time

12 June 2018, 02:18 | Joan Schultz

Nadal had too much class for del Potro on his favoured clay. Pic GettyMore

Nadal had too much class for del Potro on his favoured clay. Pic GettyMore

Nadal said it was an "incredible" feeling to be in another French Open final.

After nicking the first set with a break in the final game, Nadal cracked 13 winners and allowed Del Potro just 16 points in a second set lasting just half an hour.

His semi-final win over Juan Martin del Potro meant Nadal equalled great rival Roger Federer in reaching 11 finals at a single grand slam, the Swiss having won eight Wimbledon titles and been runner-up three times.

This time, Thiem instead faced Cecchinato, who never had won a Grand Slam match until this tournament and was the lowest-ranked men's semifinalist at the clay-court major in 19 years.

"I'm really, really happy that I won this match", said Halep, who lost to Jelena Ostapenko in the final previous year. "Del Potro hasn't played Nadal enough on clay to feel the scar tissue, to feel the damage that Nadal has done on so many players so therefore I understand why Juan Martin would choose to not risk it and play safe", he explained. "I hope to be ready for it". However, he was still struggling against Del Potro's serve until at 5-4 when Nadal managed to earn two set points with his forehand returns, converting the second one when the 29-year-old hit the net.

"It was even heavier and more overcast than I even remember it being".

Nadal has a 9-5 head-to-head record against del Potro.

Del Potro has been in the last four in Paris once before, back in 2009.

Nadal emerged victorious in straight sets, including a memorable second in which he dropped just the one game.

Thiem defeated Cecchinato 7-5, 7-6 (12-10), 6-1 to reach his first French Open final.

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It was the 24-year-old Austrian's third consecutive appearance in the final four at Roland Garros, after losses to eventual champions Djokovic in 2016 and Nadal in 2017. "And so that puts the bar really high and the pressure is at its maximum, that's why he's so tough to beat".

When previewing this French Open - tipping Dominic Thiem at [14.00] - I wrote that Nadal was no certainty, and that, if looking only at their clay court form, Nadal should be a [1.55]-shot to beat the improving upstart, were they to meet.

Both of Thiem's victories came in three-set matches in Rome and Madrid, but sustaining it over five sets in Paris is likely to be a different proposition.

"If lost that tiebreak it would have been a very close match I think and I didn't want that. Then I converted the important one". He then played an ATP 250 tournament in Lyon the very week before French Open, an often unheard practice from a top 10 player ahead of a Slam - and won it - just to keep the momentum going.

Cecchinato's nerves settled and the Sicilian unleashed some trademark backhand winners but Thiem had too much pace and power.

After a harrowing first two sets, Thiem needed only 21 minutes to win the clinching set. The Austrian looked very assured against Alexander Zverev as well as Cecchinato.

Rattled by the Italian's revival, Thiem clicked into overdrive - and aided by Cecchinato unforced errors - clinched a crucial break for 6-5 by crunching a forehand victor.

"They are the first set is everything, and the weather is everything".

The second set turned into a tight tactical battle with neither able to break serve.

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