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'I have a plan' for Rafael Nadal, says finalist Dominic Thiem
13 June 2018, 02:04 | Anna Jefferson
Rafa Nadal is a set down
Under pressure at the outset, Rafael Nadal already had cast aside three break points in his French Open semifinal's third game when, at 4-all, Juan Martin del Potro held another three.
"For sure", said Thiem's coach, Gunter Bresnik, "this gives you a little hope". Del Potro had forced six break points during the first set but the Spaniard fended each one off.
Thiem went through one pivotal stretch against Cecchinato (cheh-key-NAH'-toe), a 25-year-old from Sicily 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.
Thiem survived two tough sets against Marco Cecchinato before cruising through the third for a 7-5, 7-6, 6-1 success.
Nadal raced away with 14 of the last 17 games. "Good tactics and mentality in the first set".
Thiem reached his first grand slam final at Roland Garros with a comfortable defeat of Marco Cecchinato, meaning he will face Nadal after the 10-time victor swept aside Juan Martin del Potro in the second semi-final.
Rafael Nadal says he was "very scared" when he suffered cramp to his left hand in the third set of his French Open victory against Dominic Thiem.
One big difference in this meeting is that those two matches that went Thiem's way were best-of-three-set events.
The three-hour and 50-minute match, which put Del Potro in the French Open's last-four for the second time in his career, was suspended on Wednesday due to the weather, reported Efe.
The 10-time champion was much-improved under the sunshine on Court Philippe Chatrier after finding life hard the night before, clinching a 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 victory over dogged Argentinian Schwartzman on his fourth match point.
"For me, the motivation to play here is always high, as high as possible", he said. It's still very early in the match", Thiem told the media, prior to the completion of Nadal's semi-fina before adding: "He's a big favourite against everybody.
The 24-year-old Austrian, playing his first Grand Slam final, made 18 unforced errors in losing the first set, and hit 11 clean winners. The French Open, like all Grand Slam tournaments, is best-of-five for men. You don't get to a Grand Slam semi-final by accident.
Nadal has not lost at Roland Garros when taking the first set and that record did not look like coming under threat as he continually rebuffed Thiem's attempts to make inroads into his serve, taking the second courtesy of an early break.
Time and time again opponents have failed to find a formula to beat the top seed, who strides onto Court Philippe Chatrier like he owns it.
But Thiem showed resilience in getting two break points on Nadal's serve.
The Argentine has never beaten Nadal on clay.
World number 72 Cecchinato stunned Roland Garros on Tuesday by following up his surprise wins over top-10 seeds David Goffin and Pablo Carreno Busta with a breathtaking victory against 12-time major champion Djokovic.
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