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ROLAND GARROS 2017

Nadal hammers Thiem to book spot in 10th French Open final

The nine-times champion made light work of the sixth seed and will face Stan Wawrinka for the title in Paris on Sunday.

Update:
Nadal hammers Thiem to book spot in 10th French Open final
CHRISTIAN HARTMANNREUTERS

Nine-times champion Rafa Nadal swept into a 10th French Open final after steamrollering Dominic Thiem 6-3 6-4 6-0 on Court Philippe Chatrier on Friday.

The Spaniard, who has been in ominous form this year after relinquishing his Roland Garros crown in 2015 after five straight titles brushed off the challenge of the sixth seed with a crushing display of power.

Nadal has dropped only 29 games on his run to the final -- surpassing his previous best of 35 in 2012.

On the other side of the net will be Stan Wawrinka, the 2015 champion who saw off world number one Andy Murray in an epic five-setter earlier on Friday

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GABRIEL BOUYSAFP

Nadal 3-0 Thiem live online: as it happened 

Nadal vs Thiem: live online preview

Rafa Nadal continues his quest to become the first player in the Open Era to win the same Grand Slam tournament 10 times when he faces Dominic Thiem in the semi-finals on Friday.

Thiem, seeded sixth in Paris, is at the age of 23 already no stranger to beating the greatest player ever to leave his mark on a clay court and has done so twice, on the surface Nadal has made his personal fiefdom. The last meeting between the two was at the Rome Masters last month where Thiem derailed the Spaniard’s bid for an eighth title with a straight sets victory in the quarter-finals.

Thiem a genuine threat to Nadal's title challenge

The Austrian world number seven, who burst onto the scene in 2014 with a three-set victory over then-world number three Stan Wawrinka, is one of few players to have beaten Nadal on clay more than once, also scoring a victory in Buenos Aires in 2016. The two players have never faced each other on any surface other than clay and in recent months have become extremely familiar with each other’s game. Before Rome, they squared off in the final in Madrid and Barcelona, with Nadal victorious in straight sets on both occasions.

With the Spaniard back to his imperious best on the crushed brick, Thiem will have to pull out another performance of the caliber of his three-set defeat of Novak Djokovic in the previous round, which included the first love-set the Serb had suffered since the 2005 US Open. However, the sixth seed achieved in Rome what no other player has managed to do on clay this season as Nadal has swept all before him en route to a 22-1 won-loss record and titles in Monte-Carlo, Barcelona and Madrid.

Nadal's 100-2 record in clay-court five-setters

However, Nadal’s record in five-set encounters on his favoured surface highlights the task Thiem faces, the Spaniard holding a 100-2 record in the long format. But if anyone can challenge Nadal on clay in the nine-time winner’s current form it is the Austrian, who reached the same stage at Roland Garros last year, losing to eventual champion Djokovic. Clay is Thiem’s natural habitat, six of his eight ATP titles to date coming on the surface, and his aggressive baseline hitting and troublesome top-spin serves can cause Nadal problems.

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