Published: Fri, June 08, 2018
Sports | By Johanna Francis

Thiem ends Cecchinato's run to reach French Open final

"Of course it's very important to have a good recovery now".

The 24-year-old Austrian ended the fairytale of Italy's Marco Cecchinato, conqueror of Novak Djokovic, in the first of Friday's semifinals at Roland Garros. At No. 72, he is the lowest-ranked French Open semifinalist since 1999.

"Maybe the experience helped a little bit but the big key was the second set tiebreak because it was very close and I saved I think three set points", said Thiem. He beat No. 10 seed Pablo Carreno Busta in the third round and No. 8 David Goffin in the fourth before stunning 12-time major champion Djokovic in the quarterfinals.

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.

Thiem sent Cecchinato scurrying around the court before breaking decisively for a 6-5 lead with a lovely forehand victor.

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This time, however, he lost it 12/10 despite having three set points. Cecchinato was accused of match-fixing and suspended for 18 months in 2016, but he appealed, and his punishment was dropped on a technicality.

Nadal is closing in on his record-extending 11th title at the clay-court Grand Slam tournament and what would be his 17th major trophy in all. "I came here without big expectations", said 2009 US Open champion Del Potro who has flirted with retirement on numerous occasions after a career-long battle with wrist injuries.

The seventh seed playing in his third straight semi-final at Roland Garros, went one step better than the previous two years.

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.

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