Only two players have managed to beat Nadal at the French Open since he first bounded into Roland Garros in 2005 armed with a bulging left bicep, pirate trousers and a pulverising brand of claycourt tennis the like of which had not been seen before.
Nadal becomes the second player in tennis history to win 11 singles titles at any Grand Slam tournament after Margaret Court, who claimed 11 Australian Open titles.
In his 24th Grand Slam final‚ Nadal will face Thiem who ended Marco Cecchinato's French Open fairytale‚ reaching his first major final with a 7-5‚ 7-6 (12/10)‚ 6-1 victory.
Cecchinato, who up until this year's Roland Garros never got past the first round of a Grand Slam event, did not look the same in the third set, as he hit just one victor, committing eight unforced errors.
Nadal took a stranglehold on the match and powered on to victory in two hours 14 minutes to set up a final against Austria's seventh seed Dominic Thiem.
Thiem has been to the semifinals in Paris three years in a row, but he lost to eventual champions Novak Djokovic in 2016, then Nadal in 2017.
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.
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But the Spaniard was impressive on Friday, finishing with 35 winners and 19 unforced errors to Del Potro's analysis of 20 and 32."Thiem is an awesome player".
A fourth set point for Thiem was erased with - what else? - a drop shot by Cecchinato. "Then I converted the important one".
"I was in the same seat", he said after watching Nadal beat Dominic Thiem in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3, 6-2.
"But I believe I will be ready for the final."World number one Nadal went into Friday's clash with a 9-5 career record against Del Potro, including all three meetings on clay.However, it was Del Potro who was in the ascendancy in the rallies in the first set".
The forecast says there is a chance of rain.
The second set tie-break proved to be decisive as the Italian player squandered three set points, having recovered from a 6-3 deficit, reports Efe.
"But after the loss, I go a little bit down with mental, and physically I play so many matches, so I think is normal".
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Ah, but there's a reason Nadal is 11-0 in semifinals at the French Open, a reason he is 10-0 in finals there - so far.
What is definitely true: Thiem has never been to a Grand Slam final until now. (My) level is very good at the moment (and) I am very, very happy.
Del Potro had required treatment on a hip problem suffered early in the first set and he visibly wilted in the second, raising his arms in mock celebration when he won a solitary game while already 5-0 behind. This year they have met twice and split the wins, with Nadal destroying Thiem 6-0 6-2 in Monte Carlo and Thiem winning 7-5 6-3 in Madrid.
"Otherwise, it's not a very nice feeling".
"The big key was the second-set tiebreak because it was very close and I saved I think three set points", Thiem said after the match.
"For me, the motivation to play here is always high, as high as possible", he said.
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