Thiem advances to first final, to face Nadal

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Nadal claimed his sixth French Open to equal the record of Borg, also taking his Slam total into double figures at 10. He has already won titles in Rome, Barcelona, and Madrid while the only loss came in the quarter-final of Madrid Open against fellow French Open semi-finalist, Dominic Thiem.

But Paris, to tweak the title of Ernest Hemingway's famous love letter to the city, has been a predictable feast for Nadal.

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.

To date, head-to-head, Thiem has served more aces on six out of the nine occasions they have met, with two ties and Nadal bettering Thiem in this department for the first time in Madrid when they last played.

How much prize money can each player earn at Roland Garros? "I just enjoy the fact that I am here again".

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

Rafael Nadal roared to French Open title number 11 with a straight-sets demolition of Dominic Thiem.

"I had tough moment in the third set with cramps in my hand".

Charmingly, despite Nadal's accomplishments, he's still prone to nerves when he steps on center court here.

Nevertheless, Cecchinato can look back on a breakthrough tournament - he had never won a match at a grand slam before beating Marius Copil 10-8 in the fifth set last week.

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Nadal seldom leaves the door cracked very long.

There was a sense of inevitability when Del Potro served at 4-5 and Nadal turned the screws to grab two set points at 15-40.

Argentine giant Del Potro was expected to push Nadal to the limit in Friday's semi-final but slumped to a 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 defeat with the world number one reeling off 14 of the last 17 games. His last few seasons have been marked by inconsistency and injury, and Diego Schwartzman demonstrated that there are weaknesses to be exploited in Nadal's game.

As for what sort of tactics will be employed Sunday, Nadal's coach, Carlos Moya, offered a hint.

The Spaniard was a set and a break down on Thursday morning before he regrouped and blazed through the last two sets on Friday morning (AEST) in a last-eight showdown played over two days due to rain. He would simply have to remember what worked for him in Madrid this year and try to replicate it.

In the first all-American Roland Garros semi-final since 2002, the 10th-seeded Stephens stayed composed throughout as Keys, who has not won a set against her in three meetings, peppered the court with unforced errors.

Cecchinato's bid to become the spoiler's spoiler ended, for all intents and purposes, when he was unable to convert any of three set points in an entertaining second-set tiebreaker that was the middle chapter of Thiem's 7-5, 7-6 (10), 6-1 win. And he set up a French Open final that, pardon the cliché, is a worthy clash between the king of clay and the man hailed as the prince.

I'm sticking to my guns in saying the world's second-best clay courter is a 36-year-old Swiss who opted not to play in this event, but Thiem's run to the final has cemented his status as the second-best clay court player who competed here.

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