Del Potro 'relaxed' despite failing to take his chances against Nadal

Rafael Nadal lost his first set at Roland Garros since 2015

Rafael Nadal will bid to win his 11th French Open title on Sunday when he takes on Dominic Thiem at Roland-Garros.

Nadal is 6-3 all-time against Thiem, but the Austrian has beaten the Spaniard twice on clay in the last 13 months: Once at Rome in 2017 and again in Madrid earlier this season, with the latter ending a 21-match and 50-set win streak on clay for Nadal. After holding there, Nadal broke del Potro to take that set and was on his way, taking 14 of the past 17 games.

Thiem, who will be competing in his first Grand Slam final, beat Nadal at last year's Italian Open and won the pair's most recent meeting at the Madrid Open last month. For me it's incredible.

"If I want to beat him", Thiem said, "I have to play that way".

"I think that was my chance of the match", Del Potro said of the ninth game.

Rafael Nadal could take revenge on Dominic Thiem in men's singles final of the 2018 French Open, while Chinese player Yang Zhaoxuan and her partner Chan Hao-Ching of Chinese Taipei failed to secure their spots in women's doubles final in Paris on Friday.

"It's not easy. I've been on court just a couple of minutes ago". And best of five sets is also a different story.

He beat the Spaniard in the Madrid quarter-finals this year having won in the Rome last-eight in 2017.

'Still, I know how to play against him.

His only defeats in the tournament came in the 2009 fourth round against Robin Soderling and in the 2015 quarter-finals against Novak Djokovic.

"Today, all day, on the Philippe Chatrier court, the fans said "Forza, Marco", so I think this is the best moment for me", said Cecchinato after the match.

The battle wore on and on, before, on the Austrian's fifth set point, Cecchinato went long to fall two sets behind.

However, it was Del Potro who was in the ascendancy in the rallies in the first set.

The man who now stands in his way of a Nadal, Thiem, overcame a tough opening against Cecchinato.

Nadal saved another three break points before holding with a sublime victor, then unleashed a couple of magnificent shots and Del Potro netted a backhand to lose a set which he had the better of. "I couldn't make it", said Del Potro.

Conditions will play a huge rule in Thiem's chances.

Nadal compiled a 35-20 edge in winners while making only 19 unforced errors against del Potro, the 2009 US Open champion.

Cecchinato, who was banned for match-fixing in 2016, had never won a match in the French Open prior to this year's edition.

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

We picked up a victor in Friday's semi-final with Rafa Nadal comprehensively thrashing Juan Martin Del Potro, to cover the -6.5 game handicap easily. Then Thiem got to 10-all with a drop shot of his own.

When Thiem's set point No 4 and 5 were saved with a botched volley and a brilliant drop volley respectively, it looked like the tide might just change in the tiebreak as it had against Djokovic.

"That was definitely the key", Cecchinato said.

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