Published: Fri, June 08, 2018
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

Thiem ends fearless Cecchinato's run to reach French Open final

He's the pretender to the throne of the King of Clay, but rising star Dominic Thiem has a chance to usurp Rafael Nadal after reaching his first French Open final.

The 24-year-old broke the resistance of Cecchinato and ultimately cruised through the third to win in straight sets to reach Sunday's final, where he will meet the victor of the second semi-final between world No 1 and 10-time Roland Garros champion Rafael Nadal or Argentine fifth seed Juan Martin del Potro.

He beat Cecchinato, ranked 72 in the world, 7-5 7-6 (12-10) 6-1 and will meet either 10-time champion Nadal or Argentine Juan Martin del Potro in Sunday's final.

After dropping the first two sets he played in the opening round, Cecchinato came back to win that match in five sets, then proceeded to string together upsets.

Cecchinato, whose career was nearly derailed two years ago by a match-fixing scandal before his name was cleared, stopped the rot in the sixth game.

But Cecchinato could not quite keep up with Thiem and his big baseline game.

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Of that set, Thiem said: "If I had lost it, it would have been a very close match". Cecchinato made some headway by repeatedly using drop shots, but Thiem eventually started tracking them down well.

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

"When I missed that volley it wasn't a very nice feeling".

That 61-minute set sucked the life out of the crowd favourite and Thiem pounced, quickly moving to a double break at 5-0 in the third set.

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

Cecchinato, who was suspended for match-fixing in 2016 before being cleared on a technicality, proved to be no pushover even though he had never won a match at a major before this year's French Open. "I will watch the second semifinal to study my next opponent a little bit, then full power on Sunday".

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