Nadal's Barcelona Open semifinal win over David Goffin was his 400th tour-level clay-court match win, making him the fourth man in the Open Era to win 400 matches on clay, after Vilas (659), Manuel Orantes (502) and Muster (422). However, here past year in the semi-finals, Nadal destroyed Thiem, losing just seven games in a rout, but it is worth mentioning that Thiem triumphed in their last meeting in Madrid last month, in the quarter-finals. Nadal also did not win the title in 2016, as he withdrew with an injury before his third-round match.
But it ultimately proved a futile mission as, just like in all but two of Nadal's previous 87 matches here, the relentless Spaniard proved insurmountable, winning 6-4, 6-3, 6-2.
Nadal retained the momentum in the second set, breaking his opponent in the second game and holding out to edge closer to yet another title at Roland Garros. His only loss on the surface this year had come to Thiem in Madrid.
"But having said that Rafa is 32 now, although not that he looks weaker or older, but throughout this tournament he has not looked his very best".
Rafael Nadal's stranglehold on the French Open has endured so long and remains so strong that he has even out-lasted his favorite Court Philippe Chatrier stadium and will probably still be winning the title when it gets a roof in 2020.
The tears that welled up when Nadal received the Coupe des Mousquetaires from Australian great Ken Rosewall showed just how much he still cares. The clay of Paris is the clay of Nadal, who has fallen in victory six times to his back and thrice to his knees, plus the two occasions standing, winding up 10 times behind the baseline and one sprawled between the service boxes, living a single dream of many so very many times.
Thiem didn't think that loose game to end the first set was as crucial as it might seemed to everyone else.
Sunday's final will be Nadal's 24th Grand Slam final, putting him second all time.
Others - including United States former tennis great Billie Jean King and ex-male professional James Blake - praised Nadal's victory, which was dominant despite an injury scare with hand cramp in the latter stages of the third set.
Thiem has beaten Nadal twice recently, so an upset was not out of the question.
"I'd love to have 20 like Roger in the future or more, but it is not something in my mind".
The Spaniard dismissed Dominic Thiem in straight sets on Sunday. Like so numerous pretenders, Thiem just did not have quite the same level of consistency to derail the Spaniard, who ruthlessly targeted his flowing backhand.
Thiem stayed with Nadal in the early going on a cloudy and steamy afternoon; the temperature was 24 degrees Celsius, the humidity approached 70 per cent.
Nadal was rampant when he broke early in the second, but Thiem raised his game to force a break point when Nadal served at 4-2 - a game in which the Spaniard was warned for slow play.
Nadal is now up to 17 Grand Slam titles, second all time to Roger Federer.
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