Nadal eases into final with three-set win over Thiem
Rafael Nadal's favourite number is nine - but he will reconsider if he wins an unprecedented 10th French Open title on Sunday.
The Spaniard continued his romp through the draw at Roland Garros with a 6-3 6-4 6-0 victory over Dominic Thiem.
Nadal is yet to drop a set and has lost just 29 games in six matches - his lowest tally ever and the least since Bjorn Borg in 1978.
Now only Stan Wawrinka remains between the 31-year-old and another record as the first man to reach double digits at a single slam.
Nadal said: "Nine or 10, it's only 10 per cent more. It's true that 10 is a beautiful number, but actually my favourite is nine. But for sure it becomes 10.
"I think I don't make more history. It's enough. Nine is more than good. Today is not the moment to think about that. It's the moment I have to be very happy.
"I've played a very good event, all the matches playing well. Today was not an exception. I started a little bit more nervous today than normal, but then I played well.
"It's true that Dominic played with more mistakes than usual probably. At the same time it was windy out there, and he didn't play on the centre court before that match. Probably that was not helping him.
"In general, to be in the final again here of probably the most important event in my career, it means a lot to me. I'm just very, very happy for everything, and I'm going to try my best on Sunday."
Thiem went into the match fresh from his stunning upset of defending champion Novak Djokovic and looking for a second successive win against Nadal.
But Philippe Chatrier is the Spaniard's stage and Thiem found Nadal a very different opponent to the one he met at the Italian Open in Rome last month.
The pair did not begin their match until gone 6pm after Wawrinka's epic five-set victory over Andy Murray.
There had been speculation about whether they would be able to finish on Friday but that did not prove to be a problem.
After reaching the semi-finals here last year, Thiem has really come of age this season, with only Nadal having a better clay campaign.
The 23-year-old Austrian had also reached the last four without dropping a set and broke serve in the opening game.
That was to be the only time he was ahead. Nadal reeled off four straight games, soaking up Thiem's power and returning it with interest.
Time and again Thiem threw everything he had at Nadal but there was no way past and the sixth seed began to make too many errors.
Thiem fought hard to stay within touching distance in the first and second sets but Nadal ran away with the third.
It was a disappointing end to a terrific couple of months for Thiem, and he said: "I think he played a good match today. I was not on the top of my game and the result everybody saw.
"Of course it's nice to be in the semis again, but now I'm really disappointed because I just couldn't play the way I wanted to. I don't know why yet, so I have to find some reasons.
"But in general it was a good clay court season, but I think a very bad ending for me."