Nadal prepares for complex Thiem challenge

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Rafael Nadal progressed to his 11th French Open semi-final with a four set victory over Diego Schwartzman on Thursday and the Spaniard has thus far never lost once he makes the last four at Roland Garros.

The winners of the men's and women's singles finals this weekend will both take home a tournament record €2.2m (£1.9m/$3.1m) for triumphing on the clay at Roland Garros. For me it's incredible.

"To beat him on clay, I would say the only chance for any player now is to be really aggressive". "I know I have to play my best if I want to have chances". I'm going to play Wimbledon, of course, and then I will have to analyse the situation afterwards, when I will be ready to play.

It was Dominic Thiem who eventually spoiled the party, breezing into Sunday's final with a straight sets victory, 7-5, 7-6 (10), 6-1, that sent a clear message to his rivals.

Thiem is not only trying to overcome Nadal's massive psychological and experiential edge in his first-ever Grand Slam event final, but attempting to join an elite club of men who have elbowed their way into the Big Four's monopoly on major titles over the last 10 years.

Nadal has won all 21 matches he's played from the semi-finals and beyond at the French Open.

Nadal crushed del Potro's spirit with the intensity of his tennis in the second set, bounding 5-0 ahead before the Argentine registered a game to lift the spirits of his fans.

Thiem has beaten Nadal on clay in each of the past two seasons, including just a few weeks ago on clay in Madrid, so that will certainly boost his confidence.

"You know when you start the clay court season that Dominic, he's one of these players that have the chance to win every tournament that he's playing, and maybe even more here in Roland Garros because he's strong physically".

It is the second straight all-American girls' final at Roland Garros, after Whitney Osuigwe beat Claire Liu previous year.

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When he's won the first set, Nadal has won 85 matches and has lost only two, a run which has cemented his legacy as a clay court specialist.

"I will try my best to win", Halep said.

In the fourth game Friday, del Potro clutched at his left hip after being wrong-footed by one shot from Nadal and was visited by a doctor at the next changeover.

At the French Open this year, Nadal has looked sluggish in the opening exchanges.

In 2016, Cecchinato was accused of match-fixing and suspended for 18 months, but he appealed, and his punishment was dropped on a technicality. At his 24th Grand Slam final on Sunday, he will face Dominic Thiem, who earlier defeated the Italian, Marco Cechhinato.

"The first set was very hard, with too many chances for Juan Martin", Nadal said. Thiem said after the game.

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.

The second-set tiebreaker turned out to be critical and, although the 24-year-old botched a straightforward backhand volley with a 6-4 lead that would have won him the set, he did well to shrug that off and finally closed out the set on his fifth set point.

"That was definitely the key to the match", Cecchinato said.