Rafael Nadal ready for 'tough final' against Dominic Thiem on Sunday


He didn't stop there, such was his extended praise for the recently turned 32-year-old.

The 16-time Grand Slam champion has been in imperious form in the ongoing clay-court swing of the season, winning 24 and losing just one match.

Spanish tennis ace Rafael Nadal on Friday outclassed Argentina's Juan Martin del Potro to storm into his record 11th final of the French Open with a 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 win in the men's semi-final clash.

Nadal is now just the second man to reach 11 finals at the same Slam‚ equalling Roger Federer's mark at Wimbledon.

Yet Bresnik obviously isn't throwing in the towel.

The Spaniard will now face seventh seed Dominic Thiem of Croatia after he earlier defeated Marco Cecchinato of Italy 7-5, 7-6 (10), 6-1 in their men's singles semi-final match.

The world No. 8 made history of his own Friday, becoming the second Austrian male to advance to a grand slam final after the hard-nosed 1995 French Open champion, Thomas Muster.

He is the only player to beat Nadal on clay in the past two years - in Rome last year and in Madrid last month - and this season no other player, not even the undisputed claycourt king, can count as many match wins on the red dirt.

Ominously for Thiem, Nadal said: "My feeling is I have a very hard match against a player that is playing great". He pounded huge serves that topped 135 miles per hour (220 kph) - about 25 miles per hour (40 kph) better than Nadal's fastest - and translated into seven aces but also had five double-faults.

"He's a big favorite against everybody", he told reporters. I know I have to play my best if I want to have chances. I have a plan.

But Thiem showed resilience in getting two break points on Nadal's serve.

Nadal's latest triumph in Paris sees him join Margaret Court, who dominated the Australian Open in the 1960s and 70s, as the only player to win 11 singles titles at one grand slam. "He has the power".

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His exploits in Paris will help him to break into the top 20 for the first time in his career and Cecchinato hopes he will now be able to take advantage of being seeded at tournaments as he looks to challenge the more established players on a regular basis.

The Argentine has never beaten Nadal on clay. Or at least not a blowout. He has undergone four wrist surgeries but the issue, thankfully, was a minor hip complaint. After holding there, Nadal broke del Potro to take that set and was on his way, taking 14 of the last 17 games.

"If I'm facing Rafa, I'm not the one who has the pressure", he said.

Del Potro, the 2009 U.S. Open champion, has a 1-3 record in Grand Slam semis.

And on the penultimate point of the semifinal, after being run ragged, the 2009 US Open victor could only offer up a smile.

"Tough moment", Nadal would say later.

"If I'd won the second set I think it is totally different, the third set", he said.

Thiem led 6-3 but suddenly lost focus.

This included a quarter-final success in Madrid last month.

"I can not believe it now", Karin Thiem, a tennis coach, told a group of reporters.

"I'm feeling so, so happy to make the right decision to play here. So it was good for me that I won it". "I need time I think".