Dominic Thiem beats Cecchinato at French Open, into first Grand Slam final

WATCH: Del Potro directs frustration at Paris spectator

He also regained the world number one ranking for the first time since July 2009.

He looked destined to be a multiple Grand Slam champion after winning the US Open as a 20-year-old, but nearly had to quit the sport because of career-threatening wrist problems. "I can say a lot of things, but the easiest answer and the real answer is to play well".

The sixth-seeded Frenchmen have won two Grand Slams together.

But Makarova and Vesnina did not play together at the French Open this year after changing their entries, despite being close to securing No. 1 status.

Nadal is going for title number 11 at Roland Garros.

Both new-look pairings went out in the first round.

The Austrian will face the victor of Juan Martin del Potro and Rafael Nadal.

Free to impose his game against wilting Cecchinato, Thiem ruthlessly closed out the match in straight sets. "It has to be a player that plays extremely well", said the Swede. "It has been a long time without good feelings. I was close to quit".

On Sunday, Nadal will go up against Austria's Dominic Thiem, the eighth-ranked player in the world and someone who has defeated Nadal before.

By Thursday normal service had resumed, the Spaniard reeling off the two points he needed to level the match, and then polishing off two more sets to crush this particular French revolution and secure his place in the semi-finals.

In 2009, del Potro lost to Roger Federer in the French Open semifinals.

But Nadal, 32, is nothing if not a hard worker who loves a challenge, and even if winning another French Open would hardly be a novelty, that should not diminish the achievement.

He saved three set points in the second before winning an epic tiebreak, something which Cecchinato has become famous for this year at Roland Garros.

Austria’s Dominic Thiem will meet Rafael Nadal in the French Open final Sunday. Thiem defeated Marco Cecchinato in Friday’s semifinal 7-5 7-6
Austria’s Dominic Thiem will meet Rafael Nadal in the French Open final Sunday. Thiem defeated Marco Cecchinato in Friday’s semifinal 7-5 7-6

The delay enabled Nadal to regroup and he turned the deficit into a 5-3 lead before a second stoppage ended play for the day.

Del Potro recovered well, though, breaking back in the next game.

By the absurd standards Nadal has set here, even facing those break points amount to a lapse, as does the opening set he dropped to the terrier-like Diego Schwartzman in the quarterfinals.

"Sometimes you play better, sometimes you are more nervous".

Friday will be the second time Nadal and Del Potro meet at Roland Garros. Nadal claimed the final two points of that game in contrasting fashion, ripping a cross-court backhand that left the crowd gasping and deftly hitting a volley off a tricky net cord.

However, having squandered one set point, he went in for a simple backhand volley victor only to dump it into the net.

Otherwise, he stayed steady in a 7-6 (5), 5-7, 6-3, 7-5 win over No. 3 Marin Cilic in a matchup between two past U.S. Open champions.

They were at 5-all in a first-set tiebreaker when their match was stopped.

Thiem was quick to respond, reeling off the next three games to take the set in 46 minutes. Coincidentally, the only time he has looked in any danger was on day 11 when Diego Schwartzman, the 11th seed, took the only set of the tournament off him.

Although Nadal stormed back against Schwartzman, Schwartzman did dent his ideal record in sets for this tournament.

The women's semifinals are also on Thursday's schedule.

Top-ranked Simona Halep has rallied past Angelique Kerber 6-7 (2), 6-3, 6-2 to reach the French Open semifinals. Nadal has never been as vulnerable in a Roland Garrros final as he will be on Sunday.

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