While we have an edge here, I appreciate that backing a heavy odds-on shot isn't most people's cup of tea, so the game handicap should be a viable proposition.
In the first all-American Roland Garros semi-final since 2002, the 10th-seeded Stephens stayed composed throughout as Keys, who has not won a set against her in three meetings, peppered the court with unforced errors. 'I know I have to play my best if I want to have chances. "That's why I got angry with someone".
"It is nearly impossible to beat Rafa", said Del Potro who had his chances but failed to convert any of his seven break points before his challenge petered out into tired hopelessness.
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.
Thiem is the only man to beat Nadal on clay in the last two seasons - in Madrid this year and Rome in 2017. "I'm so happy to be in the final again", said Nadal afterward.
That win, according to three-times former champion Mats Wilander, should be all Thiem is thinking about when he prepares for Sunday's clash.
"For that, I'm going to practice tomorrow with this idea in mind".
And the only man to beat Nadal on clay previous year was Thiem. "I never dreamed in 2005 when I played my first final here that I would be in another one".
The injury-prone Argentine had a discussion with Dr. Bernard Montalvan during the changeover, with Nadal leading 3-2 in the first set. "It was nearly impossible to beat him", del Potro said. He is also convinced that Thiem will not come out "as flat" as he did in last year's semifinal, which came after Thiem had defeated Djokovic in the quarterfinals.
Clay court supremo Nadal and 10-time French Open champion Nadal admitted to bout of nerves during his hard=fought quarter-final win over Argentinian underdog Diego Schwartzman. Thiem has won 7-5 6-3 and lost creditably 7-6 6-4 in Madrid, and won 6-4 6-3 in Rome.
The conventional wisdom is that the only way to prevail is to take time away from him: to attack at the first decent opportunity before Nadal strikes first or locks his opponent into a geometric inferno by controlling the baseline exchanges with his whipping forehand and excellent two-handed backhand.
"He's been a very complex opponent, and one of the best players in the world on this surface".
Cecchinato, who was suspended for match-fixing in 2016 before being cleared on a technicality, proved to be no pushover even though he had never won a match at a major before this year's French Open.
The unseeded Italian pushed the much more experienced Thiem hard in the opening set and had three set points before losing the marathon second-set tiebreaker.
Thiem sent Cecchinato scurrying around the court before breaking decisively for a 6-5 lead with a lovely forehand victor.