Rafael Nadal into French Open finals against Dominic Thiem

Rafael Nadal into French Open finals against Dominic Thiem

Rafael Nadal into French Open finals against Dominic Thiem

The former US Open champion, who nearly retired from the sport two years ago after persistent wrist injuries, had said he would make a "last-minute decision" on his Roland Garros participation after suffering a leg injury at the Rome Masters.

So if anyone could head into the French Open final with even the slightest reason to think there's a chance of preventing Nadal from winning a record-extending 11th championship at Roland Garros, it is his opponent Sunday.

The enormity of the situation clearly dawned on him after beating Marin Cilic in the quarter-finals on Thursday, as he sobbed tears of joy at the side of the court. So it was good for me that I won it...

"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.

"So I just enjoy the fact that I am here again". "I was so nervous before the match because I knew it would be a tough match".

The pivotal part of the match was the second-set tiebreaker. "We'll see what can I do against the king of clay".

I played two sets at the same level as Dominic Thiem. "So I need more work for go top 10 or top 20, so these matches was very important for me".

Cecchinato is bidding to become the first Italian to reach a men's final at a Grand Slam tournament since Adriano Panatta won the title in Paris 42 years ago.

And on the penultimate point of the semifinal, after being run ragged, the 2009 US Open victor could only offer up a smile. He lost at this stage to eventual champions Novak Djokovic in 2016 and Rafael Nadal in 2017. That's exactly what he did in Madrid, and no tennis player could have withstood such a barrage as the world #8 delivered.

Dominic Thiem reached his first Grand Slam final and ended the surprising French Open run of 72nd-ranked Marco Cecchinato of Italy.

Nadal said of his cramp: "I was very, very scared".

"And I have been trying and trying every day to fix my problem in my wrist".

"I got a little lucky".

"He's playing with big confidence, winning the Lyon Open before Roland Garros and playing some great matches here".

Del Potro struck 31 winners and 19 aces, compared to Cilic's 53 and 18, respectively. "He has fantastic potential", said the 16-time Grand Slam champion.

"Today I played more aggressive". He beat No. 10 seed Pablo Carreno Busta in the third round and No. 8 David Goffin in the fourth before stunning 12-time major champion Djokovic in the quarterfinals.

Nadal‚ a 16-time Grand Slam champion‚ claimed his 85th win in Paris against just two losses after weathering a big-hitting opening from 2009 US Open victor Del Potro to win 6-4‚ 6-1‚ 6-2.

He has lost just twice in 87 singles matches at the French Open.

"It is nearly impossible to beat Rafa", said Del Potro who had his chances in the semi-final but failed to convert any of his seven break points before his challenge petered out into tired hopelessness. And the lack of experience and knowledge of being on these last rounds, that's always the risk.

"Now I do not have any words to describe this moment, it is so good for me, my team, my family".

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