Rafael Nadal, Dominic Thiem reach finals

Rafa Nadal

Rafa Nadal. AFP

Thiem went for the jugular in the third set and after racing to a 4-0 lead in double quick, he finished off the job to reach his first Grand Slam final. What I've done to legitimise the process and outcome is identified some of the greatest single-surface players that the game has seen in the Open Era, and drawn up a statistical comparison on multiple parameters. Perhaps. But he has not won a grand slam since he beat Andy Murray here two years ago.

Play has resumed at the French Open after a suspension due to rain of about 55 minutes. He said: "I am very happy to be back in the final here at Roland Garros".

Both new-look pairings went out in the first round.

ESPN's Nicolas Pereira recaps Rafael Nadal's comfortable semifinal win over Juan Martin del Potro to set up a meeting with Dominic Thiem. Halep saved two match points to win that one.

"It's tough to speak now", the fifth-seeded Argentine player said.

"It has been a long time without a good feeling in my body".

While the semifinal was expected to be a close encounter, it was quit the opposite.

By contrast, Thiem was competing in his maiden major final and although he matched his illustrious opponent for large parts of the opening set, he crumbled at the crunch and never really regained his poise. "If I want to beat him, I have to play that way like I did in Rome and in Madrid".

In 2009, del Potro lost to Roger Federer in the French Open semifinals.

Play in the men's quarterfinals has been stopped again due to rain at the French Open.

Had Cecchinato not tightened in the second set, when he held three set points, it might have been a different result.

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He still occasionally inconvenienced the reigning champion, not least when a deft drop shot brought up a point to break back at 2-4. In my eyes, those odds are too bullish about Nadal's chances.

The 10-time Roland Garros champion will be up against Marin Cilic or Juan Martin del Potro for a spot in the final.

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.

"You can win a set, but not a match against Rafa", said Del Potro keen not to over-egg any hint of weakness in Nadal's game. He looks like he is nearly back to his best this season having picked up two titles, which includes winning his first Masters Series title with a three set win over Federer at Indian Wells.

Thiem also believes that being the underdog on Sunday will allow him to play more freely.

"You know when you start the clay court season that Dominic, he's one of these players that have the chance to win every tournament that he's playing, and maybe even more here in Roland Garros because he's strong physically". Facing a rampaging Rafael Nadal on clay is a threat any day, but on the terre battue of Court Philippe Chatrier is akin to running with the bulls. And he did just that, easier opponent notwithstanding, with a 7-5, 7-6 (12/10), 6-1 win.

They were at 5-all in a first-set tiebreaker when their match was stopped.

His huge serve helped him to save set points too and he finally gained the upper hand to take a two-set lead.

The 10-time champion needed a downpour on Wednesday evening to rescue him from a deluge of break points, five of which were converted by tricky Argentinian Diego Schwartzman.

Sunday's final will be Nadal's 24th Grand Slam final, putting him second all time.

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