Nadal, Thiem ready for tough final showdown

Nadal walks off court for the second time due to rain in Paris

Nadal walks off court for the second time due to rain in Paris

Clay court supremo Nadal and 10-time French Open champion Nadal admitted to bout of nerves during his hard=fought quarter-final win over Argentinian underdog Diego Schwartzman. After holding there, Nadal broke del Potro to take that set and was on his way, taking 14 of the last 17 games.

The Spanish world number one edged a tight first set but then simply blew fifth seed Del Potro away.

"It's been a lot of years of playing and doing the same things every year".

"He's a big favorite against everybody", Thiem said of Nadal.

There have, however, appeared to be one or two chinks in Nadal's armour at Roland Garros this year. He converted the second to make the score 2-1.

However, Taiwan's Chan Hao-ching and her partner, Yang Zhaoxuan of China, did not fare so well, falling just short of the women's doubles final on Friday after losing to Eri Hozumi and Makoto Ninomiya of Japan 6-2, 6-2.

We're nearly to the end of the French Open for 2018.

The No. 6-seeded pairing from the Czech Republic beat Eri Hozumi and Makoto Ninomiya of Japan 6-3, 6-3 on Sunday.

The 29-year-old was in tears after the win. Both players dropped serve four times. Stephens won last year's U.S. Open; Halep is 0-3 in major finals.

The Austrian also came out on top on clay in three sets in the semi-finals in Buenos Aires in 2016.

In doing so, he became the youngest men's singles Grand Slam finalist since Kei Nishikori at the 2014 US Open. Thiem looks like he belongs on the big stage - but will he take that confidence into a showdown against Nadal who has only ever lost twice on the big Philippe Chatrier Court?

Marach and Pavic are going for their second straight major title together after winning the Australian Open in January.

Thiem, the No. 7 seed, reached his first Grand Slam final by ending the surprising run of 72nd-ranked Marco Cecchinato of Italy with a powerful 7-5, 7-6 (10), 6-1 victory Friday. The problem is executing it. Nadal is an astounding 85-2 at Roland Garros, with his only defeats coming against Robin Soderling in the fourth round in 2009 and against Djokovic in the quarterfinals in 2015.

Rafael Nadal progressed to his 11th French Open semi-final on Thursday. Their semifinal is later Friday.

Thiem is responsible for both of those losses - at Rome in May 2017, and at Madrid last month - which at least lends a little intrigue to Sunday's proceedings.

Nadal will face Austrian Dominic Thiem for the championship on Sunday, June 10.

The Italian showed the full range of his shots, smarts and court coverage as Thiem began banking on his baseline game, standing nearly next to the ball kids to return the risky kick serves. He is 10-0 in French Open finals and 77-0 at the tournament overall when he wins the first set, so getting a jump on him early - a tactic far easier to write about than to execute - would seem to be a fairly obvious strategy.

Once Cecchinato found his groove after the initial upheaval, he started sending down his thunderous winners to trouble Thiem, got the break back and edged ahead at 5-4.

Del Potro saved one but a backhand error handed Nadal the set and he never took a backward glance after that.

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