Rafael Nadal reaches record 11th French Open final

  • Rafael Nadal reaches record 11th French Open final

Rafael Nadal reaches record 11th French Open final

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

The giant Argentine 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 No 1 reeling off 14 of the last 17 games. His appetite was audible in the long, trailing groans of effort that echoed around the old concrete stadium. "I couldn't make it", del Potro said.

"I'm not a big fan of the military service".

"Before it I was not opening the court with the backhand".

Nadal will next face Dominic Thiem, who is playing in his first Grand Slam final compared to Nadal's 24th appearance.

World 72 Cecchinato had knocked out three seeded players to reach the semi-finals, including 12-time major victor Novak Djokovic in the quarter-finals. He is 110-2 in all best-of-five matches on red clay. "I never dreamed in 2005 when I played my first final here that I would be in another one".

- Nadal responds to being asked why he still feels pressure on court.

Nadal seldom leaves the door cracked very long. The vanquished del Potro acknowledged as much as he reflected on the brief stretch where he was able to put up some resistance to Nadal's unremitting intensity.

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 had the crowd purring when he fired a backhand victor down the line and punched the air after showing incredible defensive skills to save one of four break points, before Schwartzman thrashed a forehand long to go a set down. "It was very hard to stop that", Nadal told reporters.

The Spaniard, who has only lost twice in 87 matches at Roland Garros, beat the Argentine in just over two hours.

3 - times Halep has lost in a Grand Slam final.

Thiem's hard-hitting game plays well on the clay, and with only three sets dropped in the entire tournament thus far, winning his first Grand Slam title at Roland-Garros shouldn't be discounted. Thiem's 35 match-wins this year are the most of any man on the circuit.

Nadal, who has lifted the trophy every time he has reached the last four at Roland Garros, broke to love at the start of the third and went on to register a comprehensive straight-sets victory.

Here is a full rundown of Friday's results and a closer look at how Nadal and Thiem set the stage for their French Open final encounter. The Italian succumbed quickly in the third set, sparing the French Open from a final in which his past match-fixing case would have been rehashed under a global spotlight.

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.