French Open 2018: Thiem beats Cecchinato to make final


Austrian seventh seed Dominic Thiem reached his first Grand Slam final by beating unseeded Italian Marco Cecchinato in three sets at Roland Garros.

Thiem, 24, won 7-5 7-6 (12-10) 6-1 against the 25-year-old, who shocked Novak Djokovic in the quarter-finals.

Thiem edged the first two sets before clinching the third in 21 minutes.

He will play either Spain’s Rafael Nadal or Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro in Sunday’s final.

Thiem has long been considered as a Grand Slam champion in the making, with Roland Garros seemingly his best opportunity.

Nobody has won more clay-court matches on the ATP tour than Thiem this year, while he is the only person to have beaten Nadal on the red dirt in the past two years.

Those victories came over three sets in Rome and Madrid – now he may face the ultimate test if top seed Nadal overcomes fifth seed Del Potro in the second semi-final.

Thiem started quickly against Cecchinato, breaking at the first opportunity and then seizing control with some dominant serving which saw him drop just one point with the ball in hand.

A wobble at 4-3 allowed the Italian to level, only for Thiem to regain control with another break for 6-5 and then serve out for the first set.

Cecchinato batted off three break points in the second set, his serve proving impenetrable as it went to a thrilling tie-break.

Thiem missed four set points, Cecchinato spurning three, before the Austrian finally clinched it when Cecchinato went long.

And he swept through the third – albeit with a brief wobble when he saved two break points in the final game – to become only the second Austrian player to reach a Slam final following Thomas Muster.

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