My dominance on clay is never routine, says Rafa Nadal

Diego Schwartzman was in control before the first rain interruption

Look no further than Alexander Zverev, Gael Monfils, Stan Wawrinka, Juan Martin del Potro and Rafa's opponent in the French Open final come Sunday, Dominic Thiem, as players who have followed suit.

Nadal is going for title number 11 at Roland Garros.

"It is nearly impossible to beat Rafa", said Del Potro, who had his chances in the semi-final, but failed to convert any of his seven break points before his challenge petered out into tired hopelessness.

"I'll watch the other semi-final to study my opponent and then it's full power on Sunday (June 10)".

"Second mistake, in the first set, he's holding very easily and what does he do on the break points?"

The No. 1-ranked Nadal quickly announced Thursday that he was not going to be as passive as he was in the early going against 11th-seeded Diego Schwartzman, seizing 12 of the initial 13 points after they stepped out under a blue sky and pulling away for a 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 victory at Court Philippe Chatrier.

Nadal, who already has more titles at a single Grand Slam than any men's player in history with his 10 French Open wins, can collect his 17th career major with a win Sunday.

The 32-year-old Spaniard, with 16 majors to his name, is to play his 24th Grand Slam final at Roland Garros against Dominic Thiem, who is playing his first.

"I know I have to play my best if I want to have chances. I have a plan". In the fourth game Friday, del Potro clutched at his left hip after being wrong-footed by one shot from Nadal and was visited by a doctor at the next changeover. "But after the loss, I went a little bit down mentally".

"True, I understand that everybody here, you have to write things", he said. If he wins the game, OK.

Asked if he felt in "steamroller mode" heading into the final, Nadal said: "I can't tell you, I'm just in the finals". "I'm not the one who has the pressure".

And the first set was indeed tight, even with del Potro calling for the trainer at 2-3.

"He's a big favourite against everybody", Thiem said.

"The big key was the second-set tiebreak because it was very close and I saved I think three set points", Thiem said after the match.

"It was a good second and third set for me, of course, and a good hold in the first", Nadal said afterward.

Too good for almost everyone, nearly every time, on clay.

Thiem insists he has a "plan" against Nadal, one which he hopes translates to the longer best-of-five set format. Over the past two years, including best-of-three matches, the Spaniard is 49-2 at clay tournaments.

One of those victories came against Thiem in last year's semi-final and was, if anything, more comprehensive than this one. However, Nadal has never lost in a French Open final and has lost just two career matches on this surface.

The 16-year-old Tseng, who beat Australian Open champion Sebastian Korda of the U.S. in the semi-finals, came back from a break down in the first set to claim his first Grand Slam title.

In 2016, Cecchinato was accused of match-fixing and suspended for 18 months, but he appealed, and his punishment was dropped on a technicality.

His huge serve helped him to save set points too and he finally gained the upper hand to take a two-set lead.

Bresnik likes Thiem's current state of mind and form after encouraging him to play at the low-level ATP event in Lyon, France, the week before Roland Garros.