Four thoughts on the men's semis at Roland Garros

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"For me, the motivation to play here always is high, high as possible", said Nadal after breezing past Juan Martin del Potro 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 in Friday's semi-finals in what was his 85th win in Paris against just two defeats.

The fifth seed, who stunned Roger Federer to win the 2009 US Open at the age of 20, said he never imagined that the likes of the 20-time Grand Slam champion and Nadal would still be standing in his path at major tournaments nearly a decade later.

Dominic Thiem has found a way to sprinkle Kryptonite into the clay courts of the great European capitals once in each of the past two seasons, defusing Rafael Nadal's superpowers in Madrid and in Rome.

There was a sense of inevitability in the air when Del Potro served at 4-5 and sure enough Nadal turned the screws to grab two set points at 15-40. I know I have to play my best tennis to have a chance on Sunday.

"He's an wonderful player", Nadal said. "That's why he's the No 1 and beating all the guys", said Del Potro.

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The 11th-seeded Schwartzman appeared to have done his homework well as he dominated the early exchanges to bag the opening set: an achievement in itself as it was the first one Nadal had lost at Roland Garros since 2015.

"If he continues with this desire, he can win many more times, like Federer for Wimbledon, and other major tournaments", added Del Potro. They came from non-ATP level matches, which is where the vast majority of tennis' corruption takes place, but corrupt behavior at the lower levels becomes a problem when those players graduate to the big time. However, he was beaten in the most recent - the US Open semi-final a year ago - and has lost nine of their 14 matches overall.

"He's a big favorite against everybody", said Thiem, who reached his first Grand Slam final by ending the out-of-nowhere run of 72nd-ranked Marco Cecchinato of Italy, 7-5, 7-6 (10), 6-1.

"Well, it's tough to speak", the 29-year-old, who has risen back to sixth in the rankings after battling back from three left wrist surgeries, said on court as fans sang "Delpo, Delpo".

Rafael Nadal admits that his desire to clinch an 11th French Open title on Sunday is fired by his growing realisation that the end of his career may not be too far away. "I think if I'm facing Rafa, I'm not the one who has the pressure". Nadal has now won 30 of his last 35 sets played on clay and has lost just one set in this tournament.

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The final many called when the draws were made has come to fruition as 10-time French Open victor, Rafael Nadal, goes up against first-time finalist, Dominic Thiem, in Sunday's final. I have to play my best. Cecchinato was accused of match-fixing and suspended for 18 months in 2016, but he appealed, and his punishment was dropped on a technicality.

He added: "It was a very hard match against a good friend and good player". He was also able to raise his level when in danger, saving three break points in the eighth game of the third set with great shot-making, and four more in the final set.

At long last, Thiem converted his fifth set point when Cecchinato sent a forehand long.

"That was definitely the key to the match", Cecchinato said.

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