Dominic Thiem reaches French Open final with win over Marco Cecchinato
Thiem becomes only the second Austrian player to reach a Grand Slam final since Thomas Muster and will face Rafael Nadal in Sunday's final
By Raz Mirza
Last Updated: 08/06/18 8:19pm
Dominic Thiem ended the Cinderella story of Marco Cecchinato to reach his maiden Grand Slam final at the French Open.
The seventh seed playing in his third straight semi-final at Roland Garros, went one step better than the previous two years.
He produced some clinical tennis to end the hopes of the unseeded Italian and reach Sunday's showpiece with a 7-5 7-6 (12-10) 6-1 victory on Court Philippe Chatrier.
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Thiem becomes only the second Austrian player to reach a Grand Slam final since Thomas Muster, who won the title at Roland Garros in 1995.
"I think the key was the second set because it was a close tie-break," said Thiem.
"It's very important to regenerate, have a good breakfast tomorrow. I'll study my opponent, whoever it is, and then full power on Sunday."
Thiem fired 13 winners and converted two out of four break-point opportunities to claim the opening set, before edging a titanic second in a marathon tie-break with his fifth set point for a two-set lead over the 72nd-ranked player.
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Cecchinato was bidding to become the first Italian to reach a men's final at a Grand Slam tournament since Adriano Panatta won the title in Paris 42 years ago, and had already sent Novak Djokovic packing in the quarter-finals but Thiem's class on clay proved too much.
The 24-year-old broke the resistance of Cecchinato and ultimately cruised through the third to win in straight sets to reach Sunday's final, where he will meet world No 1 Rafael Nadal after the 10-time Roland Garros champion crushed the hopes of Argentine fifth seed Juan Martin del Potro.
Cecchinato can look back on a breakthrough tournament - he had never won a match at a Grand Slam before beating Marius Copil 10-8 in the fifth set last week.
"For me it was a special tournament," he said. "I played two sets the same level against Dominic Thiem. I think he's the second or third-best player on clay.
"If I'd won the second set I think it is totally different, the third set. But after the loss, I went a little bit down mentally."
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