However, he said: "I've had long and mentally tough clay-court season because I played nearly all the matches possible after coming from an injury". Nadal -5.5 games is available on the Exchange at [1.68] and given the fact that Nadal has tended to dominate Thiem on non-quick clay, this should be a very likely outcome if Nadal wins the final.
"In the third set I noticed I had cramps in my left hand, I was scared because there was a lot of humidity", he explained in his post-match interview. It is also Thiem's third consecutive appearance in the final of this respective tournament.
"Yes, and it's going to take probably one or two more years", said Gunter Bresnik, Thiem's coach.
Nadal's Barcelona Open semifinal win over David Goffin was his 400th tour-level clay-court match win, making him the fourth man in the Open Era to win 400 matches on clay, after Vilas (659), Manuel Orantes (502) and Muster (422). He made 18 unforced errors in the second set as celebrities including Hugh Grant and Tim Roth looked on from the stand. That did not stop him from taking the sixth game after some treatment.
Rafael Nadal bids for his record-extending 11th French Open championship when he faces Dominic Thiem in the final.
The world No. 1 saved it and went on to secure a two-set lead when yet another backhand from the Austrian drifted wide.
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His picking at the rear of his shorts and mopping of his brow, aligned with his obsessive devotion to lining up his water bottles, are parts of the Nadal DNA.
Nadal avenged his defeat to the Swede at Roland Garros 12 months earlier.
"I think it was the first time against him here in Roland Garros where it was a fight", Thiem said. Frustrated ThiemNadal, however, turned the screw in the 10th game and Thiem seemed to grow nervous, sending a forehand long to hand his opponent the opening set.
"And the fact that I didn't give up after the one a year ago here [in which she lost in three sets to Jelena Ostapenko] means that I'm strong inside and I do this just because I love this sport".
Nadal comfortably beats his compatriot for an eighth French Open but the hard yards were achieved in the semi-finals when he defeated Djokovic 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 6-7, 9-7 in a 4-hour 37-minute epic.
Only Nadal, Pete Sampras and Ken Rosewall have managed the feat of winning Grand Slam titles in their teens, 20s and 30s.
Siniakova was the doubles runner-up at last year's U.S. Open with a different partner.
Slow starts have plagued Nadal in several of his matches this fortnight, most notably against 11th-seed Diego Schwartzman in the quarterfinals.