Thiem: I have a plan to stop Nadal

Thiem: I have a plan to stop Nadal

Nadal made easy work of No. 5 seed Juan Martin del Potro in a 6-4, 6-1, 6-2, win, while Thiem eliminated upstart Italian Marco Cecchinato by a 7-5, 7-6 (10), 6-1, score.

Nadal fought them off - three at 1-1 and three more at 4-4 - then took the set with only his second break point when Del Potro slammed a backhand into the net.

Nadal has been untroubled en route to the semis, apart from a blip in the quarter-finals against Diego Schwartzman, but the towering Del Potro looms large on Court Philippe Chatrier on Friday.

Yesh: It has been nearly a decade since del Potro made the semifinals here. And from tomorrow on, I will do what I have to do to get ready for Sunday.

Every stat pointed toward Nadal being the superior player on Friday, though, especially on serve. In the victory, Thiem won 83 percent of his first serve points and 61 percent of his second serve points.

In Madrid, Thiem said the key was to be positive against Nadal.

The second set was also dominated by serve until Cilic fired himself up to break at 4-4 - a furious del Potro throwing his racket at the changeover. The only loss this clay court season has been to Thiem in the quarter-final of the Madrid Masters though he holds a 6-3 head-to-head advantage over the Austrian.

Croatian Cilic played an terrible game when serving for the set but he was gifted another chance to serve for the set after breaking del Potro again and at the second time of asking he levelled the match. Stephens won last year's US Open; Halep is 0-3 in major finals.

His record at Roland Garros now stands at 85 wins and two defeats. The last one in US Open I lost against Rafa.

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"I'll watch the other semi-final to study.my opponent and then it's full power on Sunday". Thiem also just beat Nadal a few weeks ago, winning 48 percent of his return points. "Still, I know how to play against him".

Nadal admitted that he was being out-played by his Argentine opponent, despite him going on to win the opening set 6-4.

"I was able to stop, to think, to calm down and to see things a bit with more clarity", he said.

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

Cecchinato's catalogue of drop shots which helped account for Novak Djokovic kept Thiem on his toes throughout, but once the pivotal tie-break went the seventh seed's way Cecchinato's unlikely run was all but over.

The unheralded Cecchinato simply being here is freakish for a number of reasons, not least his 10-8 final set success over Marius Copil in the first round, a match which lasted nearly four hours.

The Argentine believes that Nadal is playing better than he has for years.

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.

At long last, Thiem converted his fifth set point when Cecchinato sent a forehand long.

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