Ten-time champion Rafael Nadal, who reached his 11th Roland Garros final when he demolished Juan Martin del Potro, setting up a title showdown with Dominic Thiem, the only man to defeat him on clay in the last two years.
Brandon: Thiem has looked invincible throughout Roland Garros 2018 and looks likely to reach his first Grand Slam final as he takes on Cecchinato in the semis. For me it's incredible.
I'm sticking to my guns in saying the world's second-best clay courter is a 36-year-old Swiss who opted not to play in this event, but Thiem's run to the final has cemented his status as the second-best clay court player who competed here.
And yet, insists Nadal: "I just go on court knowing that every match is hard, and I can lose and I can win".
"But I believe I will be ready for the final".
"I think that was my chance of the match", Del Potro said of the ninth game.
Nadal broke to take that set and was on his way, taking 14 of the last 17 games.
ESPN's Nicolas Pereira recaps Rafael Nadal's comfortable semifinal win over Juan Martin del Potro to set up a meeting with Dominic Thiem. 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.
"He's a big favorite against everybody", Thiem said of Nadal.
Returning to Court Philippe Chatrier Thursday, Nadal quickly polished off the second set, and with it, effectively, Schwartzman's challenge.
At just 19, Nadal became the youngest victor of a Grand Slam title since Michael Chang won at Roland Garros in 1989 at 17.
Cecchinato, the world number 72, played fearlessly and used his whole arsenal of claycourt weapons, but he came up short against the only player to beat Nadal on his favourite surface this season.
After failing on the penultimate hurdle at Roland Garros in the last two years, Dominic Thiem has successfully managed to reach the final of the clay-court Grand Slam in the ongoing season, and deservedly so.
"He is, for me, the best competitor I ever saw in any sport, and I watch sport a lot for many, many years", said Gunter Bresnik, Thiem's 57-year-old coach. "If I lost that tiebreak it would have been a very close match and I didn't want that".
Robin Soderling, who famously inflicted Nadal's first defeat at the French Open in 2009, insists Thiem has to take the initiative from the start. Cecchinato was accused of match-fixing and suspended for 18 months in 2016, but he appealed, and his punishment was dropped on a technicality.
Thiem then held his serve at love for a 2-0 lead. Thiem defeated Marco Cecchinato in Friday's semifinal, 7-5, 7-6 (10),.
The Austrian netted an easy volley to give another opportunity to Cecchinato, which he seized, forcing his opponent to a backhand error.
The battle wore on and on, before, on the Austrian's fifth set point, Cecchinato went long to fall two sets behind. You need to clinch that first set because he is coming out nervous.
Of the 31 sets they've had available to play in their matches, they've used only 21, or 67%, only once requiring more than the bare minimum of sets.
People may point to the fact that Thiem recently beat Nadal in his own backyard in Madrid, as it were, but there are few things to remember here.