Rafael Nadal reaches 11th French Open final, will face Dominic Thiem

Thiem must come out firing when he faces heavy Nadal artillery

Ten times he has lifted La Coupe des Mousquetaires and the "King of Clay" has looked as hungry as ever to retain his crown during yet another dominant run to an unprecedented 11th title in the French capital.

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.

The first Austrian to reach a grand slam final since Thomas Muster triumphed here in 1995, Thiem struggled to fend off the world No.72 before easing to a 7-5 7-6 (12-10) 6-1 success.

Rafael Nadal insisted he still "feels pressure" and is "only human", after battling back from a set down to beat Diego Schwartzman on Thursday and set up a French Open semi-final clash with Juan Martin del Potro.

Former Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane is in the crowd enjoying a close-fought French Open final between Rafael Nadal and Dominic Thiem.

"I think it helps, definitely, knowing that you were the last guy to beat him", said Bresnik, whose association with Thiem spans more than 15 years.

If that gave him hope ahead of their fourth meeting of 2017 in the French Open semifinals, it was quickly dispelled in a 3-6 4-6 0-6 loss.

If not, it will be Goodnight Vienna for the man with one of the best single-handed backhands in tennis.

"He's an unbelievable player", Nadal said. After a harrowing first two sets, Thiem needed only 21 minutes to win the clinching set. "I was 11 years old, watching in the TV and honestly never expected that one day I'd play the finals here".

Nadal tightened his grip, going to 5-1 on another double break in the third set and sealed the match when Del Potro hit a backhand long.World 72 Cecchinato had knocked out three seeded players to reach the semi-finals, including 12-time major victor Novak Djokovic in the quarter-finals.But Thiem, 24, was too strong and now believes he has a particularly powerful weapon on his side for the final - breakfast. Good thing is I played a lot of good matches this clay-court season.

Del Potro had required the doctor early in the first set after appearing to jar his ankle in the red clay.

The first set was a tight affair, with Thiem claiming the decisive break in the 11th game but the Italian retained his composure to send the second to a tie-break.

Against del Potro, Nadal did not record a single ace and converted only 61 percent of his first serves. I felt that I was playing a little bit under more stress than usual, and he was able to take control of the point too many times.

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

"I need to regenerate and have a good breakfast to keep up my good level".

"I saved two set points and luckily I won it".

Thiem used to hike through the Alps in his homeland as part of his training, but the 24-year-old had an even bigger mountain to climb now. "When (Thiem) is dominating the point, he is very unsafe".

Thiem had to weather three set points for Cecchinato, at 7-6, 9-8 and 10-9.

He hit a forehand long for 0-30 and then hit another forehand into the net to gift Nadal three set points.

"For me, the motivation to play here is always high, as high as possible", he said.

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

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