Highlights French Open 2018, Men's singles semi-finals: Rafael Nadal wins in straight sets, faces Dominic Thiem for 11th title

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Highlights French Open 2018, Men's singles semi-finals: Rafael Nadal wins in straight sets, faces Dominic Thiem for 11th title
  • 22:40 (IST)

    Thank you so much for following along with our live blog today.

    Make sure to return tomorrow for what promises to be an intriguing women's final - Top seed Simona Halep takes on US Open champion Sloane Stephens! 

  • 22:06 (IST)

    Here's a quick recap of the matches from Day 13 of French Open:

    Rafael Nadal improved to 11-0 in French Open semi-finals as he seeks his 11th title at the claycourt Grand Slam tournament, saving all seven break points he faced and overwhelming 2009 US Open champion Juan Martin del Potro 6-4, 6-1, 6-2.

    The No. 1-ranked Nadal compiled a 35-20 edge in winners while making only 19 unforced errors.

    Nadal saved three break points at 1-all in the opening set and another three at 4-all. After holding there, Nadal broke Del Potro to take that set and was on his way, taking 14 of the last 17 games.

    This was the No. 5-seeded Del Potro's first semi-final at Roland Garros since 2009. He missed the tournament every year from 2013-16 because of injuries, including three operations on his left wrist. In the fourth game, del Potro clutched at his left hip after being wrong-footed by one shot from Nadal and was visited by a doctor at the next changeover.

    On Sunday, Nadal will face No. 7 seed Dominic Thiem, a 24-year-old Austrian who reached his first Grand Slam final by eliminating unseeded Marco Cecchinato in straight sets.

    Thiem is the only player to beat Nadal on red clay over the past two seasons. Nadal is 49-0 against everyone else on his preferred surface in 2017 and 2018.

  • 22:03 (IST)

    Del Potro fans, look away. These numbers are not flattering for the Argentine. 

  • 21:57 (IST)

    An utterly dominant display from the defending champion and he will now play for his 11th French Open title.

    Nadal saved all 7 break points faced and he has won 33 of 36 sets in Roland Garros semi-final matches. Also improves to 49-2 on clay in 2017-18 with only 2 losses coming to Thiem. 

  • 21:55 (IST)

    Most Grand Slam singles finals (men's tour, all time top-5):

    30 - Roger Federer

    24 - Rafael Nadal

    21 - Novak Djokovic

    19 - Ivan Lendl

    18 - Pete Sampras

  • 21:52 (IST)

    So the stage is set for Sunday. Rafael Nadal vs Dominic Thiem.

    The undisputed King of Clay, 85-2 at Roland Garros vs the only player to have beaten Nadal on clay in the past two years.

  • 21:50 (IST)

    Nadal is thrilled to reach the final again. 

  • 21:50 (IST)

    Rafael Nadal is through to an 11th Roland Garros final with a  6-4, 6-1, 6-2 win against Juan Martin del Potro.

    Nadal faces first-time Slam finalist Dominic Thiem in the title showdown.

  • 21:41 (IST)

    This has turned out to a surprisingly one-sided match after that opening set.

    Del Potro holds for 5-2 but now Nadal will come out to serve for the match and a place in the final. 

  • 21:36 (IST)

    Nadal gets a double break in the third set as well. 4-1

    Just two more games and the World No 1 will have reached his 11th Roland Garros final. 

  • 21:20 (IST)

    And then Nadal holds at love to jump ahead 2-0. 

    Del Potro is putting up very little resistance and the Spaniard is walking all over him. 

  • 21:18 (IST)

    Del Potro gets broken at the very start of the third set. 

    His body language has gotten worse as this match has progressed and it looks like there is no fight left in him. 

    This match could be over very soon. 

  • 21:15 (IST)

    Ruthless efficiency from Nadal. He's saved all the seven break points he faced.

  • 21:12 (IST)

    Rafael Nadal takes the second set 6-1 in just 42 minutes.

    The Spaniard is one set away from his 11th French Open final.

  • 21:06 (IST)

    Del Potro finally gets on the board in the second set. 5-1.

    The Argentine gets the crowd going after saving two break points and ending Nadal's run of games won in a row at seven. 

    But the Spaniard will now serve for a 2-0 lead. 

  • 20:58 (IST)

    Nadal breaks Del Potro for the third straight game and has won six games in a row. 

    He leads 6-4, 4-0 and it's all one-way traffic at the moment. Del Potro making too many errors now and is getting killed every time he makes a backhand slice. 

  • 20:49 (IST)

    Nadal breaks and consolidates for a 3-0 lead in the second set.

    It's all going the Spaniard's way at the moment. Del Potro needs to quickly refocus if he wants to extend this match for long. 

    Del Potro did have a break point in the third game of the set, but as has been the case in this match so far, he couldn't convert it.

    De Potro is now 0/7 on break points in this semi-final. And that cost him dearly. 

  • 20:41 (IST)

    Take a look at the stats from the  first set. Nadal hit 4 more winners but overall won just one point more than Del Potro. 

  • 20:37 (IST)

    Just way too many wasted opportunities from Del Potro. Not many people get so many against Nadal.

  • 20:34 (IST)

    Rafael Nadal takes the first set over Juan Martin del Potro 6-4 in 54 minutes.

    A tight set where Nadal saved six break points but ultimately did enough to win it. 

  • 20:33 (IST)

    Nadal breaks to win the first set, 6-4.

    The Spaniard makes Del Potro pay for all his missed chances and brings up two set points on the Argentine's serve.

    One set point saved by Del Potro with a booming forehand into the corner that Nadal can only send long. 

    On the second set point, Del Potro dumps his backhand into the net and the first set goes Nadal's way. 6-4. 

  • 20:25 (IST)

    Break points saved:

    Nadal 6/6

    Del Potro 0/0

  • 20:24 (IST)

    HUGE hold from Nadal after saving three break points! 5-4.

    Nadal saved the first with a deft volley, then Del Potro overhit an easy forehand to bring the game to deuce. On his third break point of the game, Del Potro missed a forehand on the run.

    Then Nadal comes up with a superb point at the net to hold for 5-4. 

    Del Potro has had so many opportunities and yet he finds himself serving to stay alive in the opening set.

  • 20:14 (IST)

    An easy hold for Nadal for a change and then Del Potro follows that up with a love-hold. It's 4-4 in the opening set.

    Del Potro seems physically fine at the moment. Business end of the first set coming up.

  • 20:09 (IST)

    Del Potro just takes some pills from the trainer and then resumes with his service game. No treatment for his thigh or groin area. 

    Nadal gets to 40-30 during Del Potro's game but a booming serve helps him hold for 3-3.

  • 20:00 (IST)

    And the trainer is out for Del Potro.

    Let's hope that the injury/pain isn't too bad for the Argentine. 

  • 19:59 (IST)

    Nadal stays on serve, 3-2.

    Nadal playing smart and making Del Potro move as much as possible. From 0-30, he plays two dropshots with Del Potro caught far too behind the baseline and wins both the points. Del Potro doesn't even attempt running for them.

    Nadal once again erases a 0-30 deficit on his serve and holds.

  • 19:57 (IST)

    Del Potro holds for 2-2 and looks like he has called for the trainer over the change of ends. 

    At 30-30, A thunderous serve from Del Potro brings up game point, and he converts that with a forehand winner up the line. Still doesn't look too comfortable out there, but at least he's stayed on serve for now.

  • 19:53 (IST)

    This does not look good.

  • 19:49 (IST)

    Nadal saves three break points, holds from 0-40 down.

    Bit of a scare already as Del Potro got his footwork twisted up and grimaced while reaching for his leg. He hobbled back to his chair after that game.

  • 19:42 (IST)

    Del Potro holds at love! 1-1.

    While I was talking about his backhand, Del Potro shows why his forehand is one of the best shots in the sport. 

    Clean hitting, huge forehands and big serves to hold his first game.

  • 19:40 (IST)

    Bit of a nervy start from Nadal?

    He drops the first two points due to unforced errors but then wins four consecutive points to hold from 0-30 in the first game of the match. 1-0.

    It will be interesting to see how Del Potro's backhand holds up in this match. Nadal will look to attack it at every opportunity. 

  • 19:34 (IST)

    Ready? Play!

    Nadal to serve first to get the semi-final match underway. 

  • 19:32 (IST)

    Both Nadal and Del Potro are out on court and are warming up!

    We are minutes away from the start of this match. 

  • 19:27 (IST)

    Ten-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal is up against 5th Juan Martin del Potro. 

    Del Potro is looking to make his first Roland Garros final but trails 5-9 in the head-to-head against Nadal. The Spaniard has won both their matches played on clay. 

  • 19:26 (IST)

    Time for the second semi-final!

  • 19:25 (IST)

    Here's a quick recap of Thiem's win:

    Dominic Thiem reached his first Grand Slam final and ended the surprising French Open run of 72nd-ranked Marco Cecchinato of Italy.

    The No. 7-seeded Thiem beat Cecchinato 7-5, 7-6 (10), 6-1 in the semi-finals Friday.

    It was the Austrian's third consecutive appearance in the semi-finals at Roland Garros. He lost at this stage to eventual champions Novak Djokovic in 2016 and Rafael Nadal in 2017.

    This time, Thiem instead faced Cecchinato, who never had won a Grand Slam match until this tournament and was the lowest-ranked men's semi-finalist at the clay-court major in 19 years. Cecchinato was accused of match-fixing and suspended for 18 months in 2016, but he appealed, and his punishment was dropped on a technicality.

    In Sunday's final, Thiem will face either No. 1 Nadal or No. 5 Juan Martin del Potro. 

    Thiem is the only man to defeat 10-time French Open champion Nadal on clay this season.

  • 19:12 (IST)

    Take a look at the final numbers from Thiem's win!

  • 19:10 (IST)

    Stat time!

    Aged 24 years and 280 days, Dominic Thiem becomes the youngest Roland Garros finalist since Rafael Nadal (24 years, 3 days) won the title in Paris in 2010.

  • 19:01 (IST)

    Thiem will be hoping to emulate Muster on Sunday.

  • 19:00 (IST)

    Dominic Thiem is though to his first Grand Slam final!

    Thiem defeats Marco Cecchinato 7-5, 7-6(10), 6-1 and now awaits the winner of Nadal-Del Potro. 

  • 18:57 (IST)

    Thiem holds to win the match!

    Not so fast, says Cecchinato as he brings up two break points on Thiem's serve. But the Austrian saves both.

    A good serve out wide from Thiem brings up match point. 

    And Thiem wins the match by putting away the ball at the net. 

  • 18:52 (IST)

    Just 15 minutes into the third set and Thiem has raced away to a 5-0 lead.

    He will now serve for a place in the French Open final. 

  • 18:43 (IST)

    Thiem breaks again for 4-0!

    Too many unforced errors from Cecchinato. Losing the tie-break has had the opposite effect on the Italian and he has completely lost his focus.

    He gets broken to love and now Thiem has a 4-0 lead. He is running away with the third set and can almost see the finish line. 

  • 18:42 (IST)

    Exquisite from Thiem!

  • 18:40 (IST)

    Thiem takes control of the third set by breaking early and then consolidates for 3-0.

    Winning that tight tie-break seems to have given the 7th seed a fresh wave of confidence. 

    Can Cecchinato fight back to extend this match?

  • 18:35 (IST)

    Thiem's first serve percentage has been poor but he won the points that mattered the most.

  • 18:33 (IST)

    Gutsy play from Thiem despite forgoing three set points early in the tie-break at 6-3.

  • 18:31 (IST)

    After battling for an hour and 54 minutes, Dominic Thiem has a two-sets-to-love lead over Marco Cecchinato. 7-5, 7-6(10).

    The Austrian is just one set away from reaching his maiden Grand Slam final.

  • 18:29 (IST)

    What an epic tie-break from both players! 

    Thiem saves four set points and then converts on his fifth to win it 12-10. 

World number one Rafael Nadal will play Argentine Juan Martin del Potro in his 11th French Open semi-final appearance on Friday.

It will be the second time Nadal and Del Potro meet at Roland Garros. The previous match up saw the Spaniard beat Del Potro in straight sets in the opening round in 2007.

Del Potro has looked one of the biggest threats to Nadal’s domination this year, with his pulverising forehand dismantling everyone in his path on the Parisian clay.

Nadal is closing in on his record-extending 11th title at the claycourt Grand Slam tournament and what would be his 17th Major trophy in all.

Seventh seed Dominic Thiem will appear in his third straight semi-final in Paris against Italian Marco Cecchinato, who will hope to continue his dream run having beaten former champion Novak Djokovic in the last round.

Cecchinato, who never won a grand slam match prior to this tournament, will face Thiem for the first time in his career.

At World No 72, the Italian is the lowest-ranked French Open semi-finalist since 1999.

In 2016, Cecchinato was accused of match-fixing but an 18-month suspension was thrown out on a technicality.

Order of play on Court Philippe Chatrier (prefix numbers denote seeding):

Marco Cecchinato (Italy) vs 7-Dominic Thiem (Austria)

1-Rafael Nadal (Spain) vs 5-Juan Martin del Potro (Argentina)

Click here to read our preview of the men's semi-finals

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Updated Date: Jun 08, 2018 22:41:35 IST

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