Dominic Thiem fends off Marco Cecchinato challenge to make maiden Grand Slam final
Dominic Thiem fended off a spirited challenge from Marco Cecchinato to progress to the final of the French Open, courtesy of a 7-5 7-6(10) 6-1 win.
Cecchinato, who had not won a match in five attempts at a Grand Slam before Roland Garros, fought valiantly against the number seven seed but ultimately the Austrian’s star quality shone through to reach his first major final.
The first set was a tight affair, with Thiem claiming the decisive break in the 11th game but the Italian retained his composure to send the second to a tie-break.
However, the 25-year-old failed to take the three sets points he fashioned and was brutally punished after going two sets down, with two breaks for Thiem allowing him to secure the third set in just 28 minutes.
The Austrian will face the winner of Juan Martin del Potro and Rafael Nadal.
"Maybe the experience helped a little bit but the big key was the second set tie-break because it was very close and I saved I think three set points," said Thiem.
" If I lost that tie-break it would have been a very close match I think and I didn't want that."
"Of course it's very important to have a good recovery now. I'll watch the other semi-final to study... my opponent and then it's full power on Sunday."
The seventh seed, the first Austrian man to reach a Grand Slam final since Thomas Muster triumphed at Roland Garros in 1995, is the only player to beat Nadal on his favourite surface this season.
With additional reporting from Reuters