Rafael Nadal into French Open finals against Dominic Thiem

Top seed Rafael Nadal Simona Halep cruise through to quarter-finals Serena Williams withdraws on Day 10 of French Open

Top seed Rafael Nadal Simona Halep cruise through to quarter-finals Serena Williams withdraws on Day 10 of French Open

Both men knew that full well.

The 10-time French Open champion punished Del Potro for missed opportunities as he registered a comprehensive 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 victory.

Nadal wins his 11th French Open title.

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.

But at 4-5 Thiem's serve let him down badly, handing Nadal three set points.

The victor will play either seventh seed Dominic Thiem, who appears in his third straight semi-final in Paris or Italian Marco Cecchinato, who will hope to continue his dream run having beaten former champion Novak Djokovic in the last round.

"If I want to beat him, I have to play that way like I did in Rome and in Madrid", said the number eight seed. "I have a plan".

However, having squandered one set point, he went in for a simple backhand volley victor only to dump it into the net. "I was just focused and try to hold the situation and just trying to be positive on every point, no?" It is his most one-sided final win since allowing Federer just four games in the 2008 final. "But I will not give [it to] him, '" Nadal said. "I have done a lot of things well in the clay court season, it is going to be tough final but I believe I can be ready".

"He's an awesome player", Nadal said of Thiem.

"Well, it's tough to speak", the 29-year-old, who has risen back to sixth in the rankings after battling back from three left wrist surgeries, said on court as fans sang "Delpo, Delpo".

It looks a daunting mission for the 24-year-old Thiem but not necessarily an impossible one.

Del Potro insisted his hip had not troubled him during the match, instead putting the defeat down to one simple fact: "His game is too good for me".

Nadal and Thiem have met nine times - all of them on clay.

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The Spaniard required barely two hours to win 6-4, 6-1, 6-2.

The 24-year-old Thiem, the youngest man since Nadal to reach the final in Paris, ended the contest on his first match point with a forehand victor.

"To beat him on clay, I would say the only chance for any player now is to be really aggressive".

The No. 1 seed could scarcely have achieved more at the French Open-he has played 87 career matches there and lost just two-but he still has the hunger for more success.

Nadal, who is only the second man to reach 11 finals at one Grand Slam after Roger Federer achieved the same feat at Wimbledon, said: "The first set was very hard, there were lots of opportunities for Del Potro and I was perhaps a little lucky to win it".

Cecchinato's career has been tainted by his involvement in a match-fixing scandal; he was banned for 18 months in 2016 before having the suspension overturned.

Thiem had three set points at 6-3 but Cecchinato quashed them all and reversed a triple of set points in his favour, but he couldn't take advantage as two errors saw Thiem move ahead with victory in sight.

"Otherwise, it's not a very nice feeling".

Thiem weathered three set points for Cecchinato, at 7-6, 9-8 and 10-9. Thiem got to 10-all with a drop shot of his own.

Thiem sent Cecchinato scurrying around the court before breaking decisively for a 6-5 lead with a lovely forehand victor.

Cecchinato, the world number 72, played fearlessly and used his whole arsenal of claycourt weapons, but he came up short against the only player to beat Nadal on his favourite surface this season.

"After that, my level dropped".

Seventh seed Thiem is the first Austrian to make a final at the majors since Thomas Muster was champion in Paris in 1995.

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