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Nadal swept past Juan Martin del Potro in straight sets in his semi-final on Friday, while Thiem overcame surprise package Marco Cecchinato, also in three sets, to reach his first Grand Slam final.

"As long as Rafa is healthy, it will be very hard to beat him here", del Potro said on Friday.

The seventh-seeded Austrian knows the enormity of the task at hand and seems to be making sure he puts in his best against the King of Clay, who has a 10-0 record in Roland Garros finals. I mean, not many players can beat him on clay. I know I have to play my best tennis to have a chance on Sunday. I believe I can be ready for that final.

Cecchinato, the world number 72, played fearlessly and used his whole arsenal of claycourt weapons, but he came up short against the only player to beat Nadal on his favourite surface this season.

Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates after winning his semi final match against Argentina's Juan Martin Del Potro in Paris, France, June 8, 2018. But I get closer to them, just asking who was it? Both Nadal and Del Potro will be short on rest, so nobody has the advantage there.

"Nadal, in Paris, best-of-five, is still half a class above Dominic, half a level too good", said Bresnik, who has coached Thiem since Thiem was 9.

Thiem also defeated his rival in Buenos Aires in 2016, joining Novak Djokovic and Gaston Gaudio as the only men to have beaten Nadal three times on clay. "I'm going to play with my highest passion and love for the game, and for the sport, to try to have success".

"That's a huge ask because for Thiem it's his first Grand Slam final and it is absolutely not for Rafael Nadal".

One of those was a 6-3, 6-4, 6-0 rout in the Roland Garros semi-finals 12 months ago.

While Thiem faces an nearly impossible task on Sunday, Nadal was taking nothing for granted against the man who beat him in Madrid.

"The second-set tiebreak was the big key to the match, 100 percent, because obviously he felt all the matches from these two weeks after that".

The first two sets saw the two players going neck to neck and playing excellent serves to gain valuable points.

Nadal has dropped just one set in this year's tournament, in the quarter-final against Diego Schwartzman when he trailed by a set and a break in a rain-affected match.

However, it was Del Potro who was in the ascendancy in the rallies in the first set. Thiem has been in complete control of every match this tournament and is playing some of his most consistent tennis of his life, as he's now in the final for the third time in his last four events.

"He's a big favorite against anybody", Thiem said of Nadal.

"If I'd won the second set I think it is totally different, the third set", he said. Thiem got to 10-all with a drop shot of his own.

Bresnik has taken plenty of flak through the years for pushing Thiem to play such a dense tournament schedule, but the coach has long insisted that it is part of a master plan to build a resilient champion.


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