Marco Cecchinato’s hurtling ascent from Grand Slam nobody to sensational semi-finalist is the most unlikely tale to have gripped Roland-Garros this year and the unseeded Italian sounds determined to ensure the adventure has at least one more unfeasible chapter.
“I would sign with blood to win against Dominic Thiem and reach the final - even if I were to lose against Nadal!” Cecchinato vowed to Italian reporters after his epic quarter-final win over Novak Djokovic, leaving his last-four opponent to reflect that while he will be the overwhelming favourite, he is up against a man riding a tidal wave.
“He is probably the most confident player out there right now," Thiem noted before his third successive Roland-Garros semi-final. “He’d never won a match at a Slam before; now he's in the semi-finals. So everything is going easy for him. He can play completely free.”