Thiem ends Cecchinato fairytale to reach French Open final

Dominic Thiem celebrates after reaching the French Open final            
    
              
     
     
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The 6-4 6-1 6-2 victory saw Nadal become just the second male player in the Open era to reach 11 finals at the same Grand Slam tournament, equalling Roger Federer's record at Wimbledon.

More prize money is up for grabs than ever before at this year's French Open but it remains the least lucrative of the four Grand Slams for players to win.

At the age of 25, Marco Cecchinato finally got a taste of what it is like to win matches at a Grand Slam tournament.

That put Thiem, a 24-year-old from Austria who is seeded No. 7, in the semifinals at the French Open for the third consecutive year.

He has already won titles in Rome, Barcelona, and Madrid while the only loss came in the quarter-final of Madrid Open against fellow French Open semi-finalist, Dominic Thiem.

The seventh seed lost to Nadal at the semi-final stage in the French capital past year however and will be in uncharted territory when he plays the defending champion. "He's one of the best players in the world on this surface", Nadal said.

Both players contributed to an entertaining start, but Thiem quickly took control, breaking through in the opening game and then comfortably holding easily.

A fourth set point for Thiem vanished because of one of Cecchinato's many drop shots.

"I have lost a lot of opportunities through injuries, and I know the years are going quick".

Ominously for Thiem, Nadal said: "My feeling is I have a very hard match against a player that is playing great".

"But I believe I will be ready for the final."World number one Nadal went into Friday's clash with a 9-5 career record against Del Potro, including all three meetings on clay.However, it was Del Potro who was in the ascendancy in the rallies in the first set".

Del Potro missed six break points in the opener, including three at 4-4.

But Thiem, unusually standing up to Nadal's first serve, forced two break points in the next game and converted the second with a flashing forehand into the right corner.

Had Cecchinato not tightened in the second set, when he held three set points, it might have been a different result.

"Of course it's very important to have a good recovery now".

Dominic Thiem bemoaned his four weeks of military service in 2014 as a "pain in the a**e" when asked whether it stood him in good stead to play at the highest level.

"Today‚ all day‚ on Philippe Chatrier‚ the fans said "Forza‚ Marco"‚ so I think this is the best moment for me‚" said Cecchinato.

Nadal acknowledged that Thiem has been a "very complex" opponent.

"I think that was my chance of the match". I'm not sure if Thiem and Rafa had a run in the Bois de Boulogne that Rafa would win. Cecchinato was accused of match-fixing and suspended for 18 months in 2016, but he appealed, and his punishment was dropped on a technicality. Cecchinato, who upset Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals after winning two pulsating tiebreaks, rallied and even held three set points prior to Thiem triumphing 12-10.

Increasingly frustrated at Cecchinato's resistance, Thiem lost his composure completely in the second set.

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