Nadal eyes 11th French Open title as clock ticks

Rafael Nadal in action against Diego Schwartzman

Thiem reached his first grand slam final at Roland Garros with a comfortable defeat of Marco Cecchinato, meaning he will face Nadal after the 10-time victor swept aside Juan Martin del Potro in the second semi-final.

"But for me, at every tournament I believe that there are chances, limited chances in your career".

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". So there are not 10 more chances to keep playing here. "The advantage, of course, is you play (with) nothing to lose", said Kuerten, who went on to become the world number one.

"He's too strong. He's improving his backhand a lot".

The No. 7-seeded Thiem beat Cecchinato 7-5, 7-6 (10), 6-1 in the semifinals Friday.

"He looks fresh. He is healthy".

Just watching him have a hit is a sight to behold, the 32-year-old leaving no stone unturned as he goes in search of an incredible 11th title at Roland Garros.

The injury-plagued former US Open champion Del Potro wept courtside after beating third seed Cilic to reach the last four for the second time, but first in nine years.

Nadal won three games in a row after returning to court, but the match was stopped again in the ninth game. After holding there, Nadal broke del Potro to take that set and was on his way, taking 14 of the last 17 games. Another forehand victor from Nadal found a corner, and Thiem yelled toward his coach.

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One of those victories came against Thiem in last year's semi-final and was, if anything, more comprehensive than this one.

"Second thing, if you don't feel the pressure, it's because you don't love the sport", said Nadal, who has never failed to win the title in Paris after reaching the semi-finals. However, Thiem did beat Nadal on the clay of Madrid last month.

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.

The tournament is unlikely to make up much ground on its rival Slams in the coming years as its organisers, the French Tennis Federation (FFT), focus on financing a modernisation project which includes a new centre court with a retractable roof.

Prevailing on Nadal's favourite court in Paris over five sets will be far harder, however. I have a plan. Like several other top players on the ATP World Tour, such as Novak Djokovic, Milos Raonic, and Andy Murray to name a few, Nadal has dealt with his own lingering injuries.

The second semi-final match of Roland Garros 2018 will not start before 3:30 pm local time, 7 pm IST and 2:30 pm BST.

"Yeah, for me is special (to be in) semi (at) Roland Garros".

Rafael Nadal has taken the first set of his French Open final against Dominic Thiem.

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.

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