Rafael Nadal cruises into French Open final against Stan Wawrinka after demolishing Dominic Thiem

Charlie Eccleshare
The Telegraph
Rafael Nadal celebrates his win - AP
Rafael Nadal celebrates his win - AP

7:18PM

The moment of victory

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Nadal extends his win-loss record at Roland Garros to 78-2. Ridiculous.  

7:15PM

Game, set and match! Nadal defeats Thiem 6-3, 6-4, 6-0 

A pair of errors from Nadal see him down 0-30, before Thiem returns the favour for 30-30. Rafa then nets a forehand to fall down 30-40, and he may be denied that bagel after all. Or maybe not, as he saves the break point with a classic big serve-bullet forehand combo. Thiem then sprays a backhand wide, and it's a match point for the nine-time Roland Garros champion. And he takes it when Thiem nets a forehand return. 

Nadal is into his 10th French Open final and will face Stan Wawrinka on Sunday for a chance to win his 10th Roland Garros title. 

7:09PM

Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 5-0 Thiem (*next server) - Nadal breaks

I mentioned Nadal's hypothetical dinner plans, and it looks like he is going to help himself to a bagel here as an hors d'oeuvre. A brilliant backhand return winner crosscourt makes it 0-40 and three break points. He only needs one - whipping away yet another forehand winner. 

That's 11 points in a row for the Spaniard, who will now serve for a place in his 10th French Open final. 

7:05PM

Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 4-0 Thiem* (*next server) 

Rafa is playing with the urgency of a man with dinner reservations in central Paris, and he bangs down an ace down the T to move up 15-0. A terrific overhead makes it 30-0, before another brilliant smash seals a love hold. 

Rafa
Rafa

7:03PM

Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 3-0 Thiem (*next server) - Nadal breaks

A Thiem double fault followed by a bruising Nadal backhand winner up the line takes the Spaniard to 0-30. A break here would surely spell the end for the Austrian. Nadal then chucks in a few uncharacteristic errors to find himself down 40-30, but he keeps hammering away and draws a mishit lob to level up at deuce. Thiem misses another game point soon after, and then cracks a forehand into the tramlines to fall down break point. Nadal takes it with a forehand winner up the line, and that is surely that. 

It's a double break for Rafa. 

6:54PM

Nadal 6-3, 6-4, 2-0 Thiem* (*next server) 

Thiem has really fallen away here, and he sprays errors all over the shop to fall down 40-0. Another one follows, and it's a love hold for Nadal. Cue whistles of disapproval from the always unforgiving Roland Garros crowd. 

6:52PM

Nadal* 6-3, 6-4, 1-0 Thiem (*next server) - Nadal breaks 

It's around 7.45pm local time so you would think that anything other than a straight sets win for Nadal would mean the match having to be completed tomorrow. 

The way it's going though a straight sets Rafa win looks to be on the cards. Thiem snatches at a backhand into the net for 30-30 before he sprays a wild forehand well long to fall down 30-40 and break point. Another long forehand follows, and Rafa has the early break in the third set. 

Nadal is two sets to love and a break up, and looks to be on course for his 10th French Open final. 

Rafa
Rafa

6:44PM

Nadal 6-3, 6-4 Thiem* (*next server) - Game and second set Nadal

A couple of Thiem errors help Nadal to 30-0, before a backhand from the Austrian sails sadly wide for 40-0, three set points. Rafa only needs one, as he punches away a forehand volley. 

Nadal's win-loss record from two sets to love up in grand slams is 164-1. Thiem though has once come back from two sets to love down to win.  

And here are Nadal's last 22 sets at RG: 6-1, 6-1, 6-1, 6-3, 6-0, 6-3, 6-1, 6-4, 6-1, 6-1, 6-4, 6-3, 6-0, 6-1, 6-0, 6-1, 6-2, 6-2, 6-2, 2-0, 6-3, 6-4. Frightening. 

6:39PM

Nadal* 6-3, 5-4 Thiem (*next server) 

Muscular serving from Thiem - including an ace down the T - helps the Austrian on his way to a love hold. Nadal will serve for a two sets lead. 

6:37PM

Nadal 6-3, 5-3 Thiem* (*next server) 

Thiem is the beneficiary of a dreadful double fault for 15-15, but he's careless on the next point and sends a spiralling forehand well long. That's where you want to see just a little more care from the 23 year-old. Nadal doesn't look back and completes the hold to 15 after two more Thiem forehand errors. 

Thiem will now serve to stay in the second set. 

6:32PM

Nadal* 6-3, 4-3 Thiem (*next server) 

A monstrous inside-out forehand winner takes Nadal to 0-15 before a missed Thiem forehand makes it 0-30. Thiem though clambers his way back to 30-30 with a missed Nadal backhand and then a perfectly judged drop shot then even gets a sporting clap from Rafa. The Austrian then rattles off the next couple of points - one of them another sumptuous drop shot - to complete the hold. 

6:28PM

Nadal 6-3, 4-2 Thiem* (*next server) 

Great hustling from Thiem to stay in the point, but Nadal is just utterly relentless and he eventually grinds his opponent down for 15-0. Two more outrageous forehands follow to take the Spaniard to 40-0, and it's a hold to 15 when Thiem can't return a strong first serve. 

6:23PM

Nadal* 6-3, 3-2 Thiem (*next server) 

The scoreline suggests this has been a regulation stroll for Nadal, but Thiem is playing some excellent stuff. His volleying has been sumptuous at times, and he blocks one away here for a winner to go up 15-0 before an ace down the T makes it 30-0. The Austrian eventually holds to 15, and he stays competitive in the second set. 

Nadal
Nadal

6:19PM

Nadal 6-3, 3-1 Thiem* (*next server) 

The King of Clay is taking care of the Prince at the moment, and he consolidates the break of serve with a straightforward hold to 15. 

I know I shouldn't be looking ahead, but if it is Nadal who wins this then him vs Wawrinka on Sunday should be absolutely sensational. 

6:15PM

Nadal* 6-3, 2-1 Thiem (*next server) - Nadal breaks

A Thiem forehand clips the top of the net and flies wide for 30-30, giving Rafa another sniff of a break. And Nadal can definitely smell it now as he whips away an inside-in forehand winner for 30-40, break point. But Thiem saves it with an excellent kicker out wide that bounces up on his opponent and draws the missed return. The Austrian though errs on the forehand side, and this time a monster Rafa forehand wraps up the break. Thiem had a couple of game points there but couldn't take them, and that's a pattern that unfortunately for him keeps repeating itself. 

Nadal up a set and a break. And he's never lost a best of five sets match on clay having won the first set. 

6:06PM

Nadal 6-3, 1-1 Thiem* (*next server) - Nadal saves two break points and holds

There's an opening here for Thiem, as Rafa sends a backhand wide and misses a simple forehand to fall down 0-30. The Austrian then earns himself two break points at 15-40 with a brilliant stop volley that just clears the net after he had earned the court position with some blistering forehands. Incredible point from the 23-year-old. Nadal though again saves them both - a forehand winner on the first and then a forehand that just tickles the outside edge of the line on the second does the damage. The Spaniard eventually holds with an ace down the T, and that's the third time in the match Rafa has held from 15-40 down. 

Thiem is now 1/7 on break points, whereas Nadal is 2/5, and that really is the story of the match so far. 

Stats
Stats

6:00PM

Nadal* 6-3, 0-1 Thiem (*next server)

Crucial for Thiem that he gets off to a good start here, but he's cursing in the first point of the set as Nadal hoists up a perfect lob over his head for 0-15. A pretty wretched double fault then has Rafa up 15-30, but he mishits a forehand for 30-30 and a Thiem ace makes it 40-30. The Austrian is consistently hitting the 125mph mark today and launched one at 140mph. Nadal though draws a backhand error from his opponent on the next point to extend the game to deuce. Thiem does eventually hold after a lung-busting exchange that ends with the Austrian flicking away a volley after he had drawn Rafa to the net with a sneaky drop shot. 

5:51PM

Nadal 6-3 Thiem* (*next server) - Game and first set Nadal

A forehand winner and two missed Thiem forehands take Nadal to 40, and three set points. A Thiem backhand then flies long at 40-15 and it's Nadal's set after 43 minutes. 

Nadal is two sets away from his 10th Roland Garros final. 

Nadal
Nadal

5:47PM

Nadal* 5-3 Thiem (*next server)

Thiem makes sure he forces Nadal to serve out the set with a hold to 30. Rafa though has well and truly found the range on his forehand, and he thunders one inside out winner this game that is frighteningly quick. 

Nadal will now serve for the first set. 

5:43PM

Nadal 5-2 Thiem* (*next server) 

Nadal is starting to really find his spots now, and it's brutal on Thiem. The Austrian is not playing at all badly, but Rafa is in the zone and he crunches away a forehand winner for 40-0. Thiem then gives his box a look as if to say "how the heck do I get past this guy?" as he nets a forehand to give away a love hold. 

Thiem
Thiem

5:39PM

Nadal* 4-2 Thiem (*next server)

Oh what a shot that is. Nadal caresses a drop shot winner for 15-30, which works perfectly with Thiem sent a good few feet behind the baseline by Rafa's relentless depth during the rest of the point. But credit the Austrian though as he knuckles down and reels off the next three points to complete his first hold of the match, sealed with a big forehand winner up the line. 

5:35PM

Nadal 4-1 Thiem* (*next server) - Nadal saves two break points and holds

Ndaal's defending very well, but Thiem will not stop pulverising those forehands, and he thwacks away another winner up the line for 15-30. Nadal meanwhile keeps missing off that wing, and he sprays one long to fall down 15-40 and two break points. But again Rafa steps up to the plate when down break points, and saves them both with some clutch serving and an excellent forehand put-away. Two more big serves follow, and Nadal holds again. 

Four games in a row for the Spaniard. 

Nadal
Nadal

5:30PM

Nadal* 3-1 Thiem (*next server) - Nadal breaks

Rafa is going after Thiem's backhand with the sort of relentless repetition that he used to employ when he faced Roger Federer on this court. He draws a couple of errors on that wing for 0-30, and a double fault gives Nadal three break points at 0-40. But wow, Thiem saves all three with monster forehands - two of them clean winners, and the third everything but. Rafa though does finally break when he ekes out a fourth break point and Thiem misses with a forehand. 

5:21PM

Nadal 2-1 Thiem* (*next server) - Nadal saves two break points and holds

There are definitely nerves early on from Nadal, as he uncharacteristically nets a smash for 0-15. Rafa is normally rock solid on the overhead. The Spaniard then puts a pretty straightforward backhand into the middle part of the net and it's two more break points for Thiem at 15-40. Nadal saves the first one with a big serve out wide, and then the second when Thiem just overcooks a backhand. Rafa eventually completes the first hold of the match for either player with a service winner down the T. 

5:16PM

Nadal* 1-1 Thiem (*next server) - Nadal breaks back

Both men are making errors in the early stages, and Thiem slaps a forehand into the net to find himself down 30-40 . Another netted forehand follows, and Rafa has broken back immediately. 

Nadal
Nadal

5:12PM

Nadal 0-1 Thiem* (*next server) - Thiem breaks

It's just after 6pm local time, so there is a chance that this could not finish tonight, which would put the winner at a big disadvantage ahead of Sunday's final against Stan Wawrinka. 

Thiem had real joy against Nadal by standing tight to the baseline on the return of serve, and he's doing that in the early stages here. He rips a backhand return for 30-30, and then earns a break point at 30-40 when Nadal miscues a forehand. And he takes it, as Rafa nets a backhand!

Thiem up a break immediately in the first set.  

5:07PM

Ready? Play

Welcome all to the second French Open men's semi-final, which sees the King of Clay Rafael Nadal take on the Prince Dominic Thiem. 

Thiem, now 23, has long been championed as the man most likely to overthrow Nadal and become the dominant player on the red dirt, and he has begun to make good on that promise over the last year or so. 

First the Austrian reached the French open semi-final last year, before in May becoming the only man to beat Nadal on a clay court in 2017 with a straight-sets success in Rome. Then on Wednesday, Thiem overcame a wretched 0-5 head to head record against Novak Djokovic to record a highly impressive - if slightly bizarre - 7-6, 6-3, 6-0 win. 

Both men are yet to drop a set at this year's tournament, but something has to give tonight.

Nadal is serving first, and we're under way.

5:00PM

Players are out

It's a far later than expected start, so the players are hastily on court. We should be under way shortly. 

5:00PM

Preview

What is it?

It's the French Open semi-final clash between King of Clay and fourth seed Rafael Nadal and the sixth-seeded Dominic Thiem.

When is it?

It all takes place on Friday, June 9 - ie today.

What time does it start?

It's the second semi-final of the day, so it follows Andy Murray's clash with Stan Wawrinka which is due to get under way at the slightly unusual 11.45am time slot. Nadal vs Thiem, however, will not start before 2.30pm even if Murray and Wawrinka are in a hurry.

<span>Thiem will face Nadal in the second men's semi-final on Friday</span>
Thiem will face Nadal in the second men's semi-final on Friday

What TV channel is it on?

ITV 4 and Eurosport 1 will have live coverage of both semi-finals with their programmes both starting at 11.30am. Alternatively, you could follow all the action with our live blog. Bookmark this page and come back tomorrow.

What's the head to head?

Nadal has won four of his six meetings with Thiem. However, the Austrian won their most recent encounter in the Rome Masters quarter-finals last month. Their semi-final clash in Paris will be their fourth meeting of the year alone. Nadal saw off the talented clay-courter in the final of Barcelona and Madrid and didn't drop a set.

<span>Nadal has a better head-to-head against Thiem</span>
Nadal has a better head-to-head against Thiem

How have they reached this round? 

Nadal:

1st round bt Paire 6-1, 6-4, 6-1

2nd round bt Haase 6-1, 6-4, 6-3

3rd round bt Basilashvili 6-0, 6-1, 6-0

4th round bt Bautista Agut 6-1, 6-2, 6-2

Quarter-final bt Carreno Busta 6-2, 2-0 RET

Thiem

1st round bt Tomic 6-4, 6-0, 6-2

2nd round bt Bolelli 7-5, 6-1, 6-3

3rd round bt Johnson 6-1, 7-6, 6-3

4th round bt Zeballos 6-1, 6-3, 6-1

Quarter-final bt Djokovic7-6, 6-3, 6-0

<span>Thiem bagelled Djokovic in the final set of his quarter-final win over the Serb</span> <span>Credit: Getty Images </span>
Thiem bagelled Djokovic in the final set of his quarter-final win over the Serb Credit: Getty Images

What are they saying?

Thiem on facing the might of Nadal:

"I mean, it's a joke how tough it is to win a Slam. Now I beat Novak. On Friday, (it's) Nadal. In the finals, there is another top star. That's why it's a slam because it's such a tough achievement.

"I just have to watch that I'm not giving him his favourite positions on the forehand. I mean, it's one of the best shots I think ever in tennis. So anyway, you cannot avoid it all the time. I will concede some winners on Friday."

Nadal on facing Thiem:

"He’s a very good player. He hits the ball very hard. He’s very powerful on both sides.

"Forehand, backhand, serve. These weapons are quite good. He steps in the court. He has a huge potential to tap, and he can hit the ball very hard."

What are the odds?

  • Nadal to win 1/5

  • Thiem to win 7/2

What's our prediction?

Thiem might have won their most recent clash in Rome, but facing Nadal on the Paris clay is a different proposition altogether.

Both men have yet to drop a set en route to the semi-finals and, while we fancy Thiem to take a set off the Spaniard, we're tipping the King of Clay to come through in four.

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