Argentina's Juan Martin del Potro on Thursday qualified for the semifinals of the French Open after he defeated Marin Cilic of Croatia 7-6, 5-7, 6-3, 7-5 in a two-day rain-delayed match.
Thiem went through one pivotal stretch against Cecchinato (cheh-key-NAH'-toe), a 25-year-old from Sicily who never had won a Grand Slam match until this tournament and was the lowest-ranked men's semifinalist at the clay-court major in 19 years.
Once Nadal stole the opener with a break in the 10th game, it was one-way traffic as he left Del Potro trailing in a cloud of Parisian clay dust to set up a final against Dominic Thiem. "He beat me in Madrid, he has big power so I have to be at my best and improve", said Nadal.
Schwartzman opened serving in the third set and lost the game while Nadal held to lead 2 - 0. The Austrian won just one of the first nine points as Nadal immediately broke for 2-0.
But the Spaniard was impressive on Friday, finishing with 35 winners and 19 unforced errors to Del Potro's analysis of 20 and 32."Thiem is an unbelievable player". After breaking Nadal's serve to take the ninth game, Schwartzman hit a forehand victor at 40-30 to take the first set 6-4.
The world number one held serious discussions with coach Carlos Moyá in an intense session in the heat as he studiously went about his business.
Nadal tightened his grip, going to 5-1 on another double break in the third set and sealed the match when Del Potro hit a backhand long.World 72 Cecchinato had knocked out three seeded players to reach the semi-finals, including 12-time major victor Novak Djokovic in the quarter-finals.But Thiem, 24, was too strong and now believes he has a particularly powerful weapon on his side for the final - breakfast.
The clay courts of Roland Garros host the second Grand Slam of the season.
Del Potro had required the doctor early in the first set after appearing to jar his ankle in the red clay.More news: India Welcomes Donald Trump-Kim Jong Un Summit
However, he quickly recovered and looked to have the ascendancy, but the Argentine let six break-point chances slip and Nadal pounced with a solitary break in the 10th game which was enough to allow him to seal the set after 54 minutes of high-octane action.
"Of course it's very important to have a good recovery now. I know he's a great player".
"He's a big favorite against everybody", Thiem said.
"For me, the motivation to play here is always high, as high as possible", he said.
Del Potro will be his opponent on Friday after eliminating No. 3 seed Marin Cilic 7-6 (5), 5-7, 6-3, 7-5 to make into the semifinals for the first time since 2009.
He hit a forehand long for 0-30 and then hit another forehand into the net to gift Nadal three set points.
It is the 11th time the 32-year-old Spaniard has reached the French Open last four, becoming only the third man in history to achieve the feat at a Grand Slam tournament, after Jimmy Connors at the US Open and Roger Federer at Wimbledon and the Australian Open.
"I made three surgeries in my left wrist and I was close to quit (ting) this sport", Del Potro said, according to the Ronald Garros website.
In 2016, Cecchinato was accused of match-fixing and suspended for 18 months, but he appealed, and his punishment was dropped on a technicality.