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Nadal, ‘Waw’ in final

PARIS (AFP) – Nine-time champion Rafael Nadal powered into a record 10th French Open final on Friday and will face 2015 winner Stan Wawrinka for the title after the Swiss outdueled Andy Murray in a five-set epic.

Nadal demolished Austrian pretender and sixth seed Dominic Thiem 6-3, 6-4, 6-0 to return to the final at Roland Garros for the first time since the last of his nine titles in 2014.

Wawrinka became the oldest finalist in Paris in 44 years with a thrilling 6-7 (6/8), 6-3, 5-7, 7-6 (7/3), 6-1 win over world No. 1 Murray.

Nadal is bidding to become the first man to win 10 titles at a single Grand Slam and leads the head-to-head with Wawrinka 15-3.

‘‘I always say the same but it’s true. Nine or 10, it’s only 10 percent more. It’s true 10 is a beautiful number, nine is my favourite, but if I win it will become 10.’’

However, he will be mindful of another upset after the Swiss stunned an injury-hit Nadal three years ago to claim the Australian Open crown.

‘‘I have been playing a great event. But Stan is playing unbelievable,’’ said Nadal.