'A little hope': Nadal vs Thiem in French Open final

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"He managed to do it well".

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

His flawless sliding and fine single-handed backhand make him a fearsome player on clay and Cecchinato believes he has what it takes to continue his climb up the rankings.

"Yesterday I was doing many winners, not many unforced errors".

"But then I got lucky to win the first set, playing two good points". At the Miami Open in March, she won the title, beating four major champions in a row. The No. 1-ranked Nadal quickly announced Thursday that he was not going to be as passive as he was in the early going against 11th-seeded Diego Schwartzman, seizing 12 of the initial 13 points after they stepped out under a blue sky and pulling away for a 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 victory at Court Philippe Chatrier.

As for Thiem, the 24-year-old is in his first Grand Slam final. "The match changed a lot", he said.

Tears welled in the eyes of the now 11-time champion as he was applauded by the crowd.

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Top seed Rafael Nadal takes on fifth seed Juan Martin del Potro in the men's singles semi-final of French Open 2018 in Paris on Friday, June 8.

No contest Andy Murray and Roger Federer have been absent.

"I'm feeling so, so happy to make the right decision to play here".

The 37-set run was Nadal's longest at the French Open, where the record of 41 was established by Bjorn Borg from 1978-81.

His uncle thought wrapping around Nadal's left forearm was too tight.

After Thiem served, the trainer reappeared and massaged Nadal's forearm and wrist. Nadal's record at Roland Garros now stands at 85 wins and two defeats.

It was the Austrian's third consecutive appearance in the semifinals at Roland Garros.

Until 4-all, 15-all in the opening set, to be precise.

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"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. Since then, the Spaniard has been imperious.

Thiem's fighting spirit was evident in abundance - he continued to put pressure on Nadal through his return game, while consistently scrapping to stave off perilous positions on his own serve - but ultimately the Spaniard's quality and, often, his sheer force of will, won the day.

Kerber is a two-time Grand Slam champion.

Despite concerns over his fitness following a groin injury in Rome last month, del Potro has made the semi-final in Paris, his second after 2009 edition. He is 110-2 in all best-of-five matches on red clay. He was serving big and hitting very strong the first shots.

Just 45 percent of Thiem's first serves went in, compared to Nadal's 65 percent.

If Austrian Dominic Thiem does win on Sunday in what will be his first Grand Slam final he will join Novak Djokovic and Robin Soderling as the only two players to down Nadal on his favourite claycourt battleground.

He got nervous again, however, in the last game, needing four match points to secure victory.

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

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