Saturday, 23 June, 2018

Rafael Nadal overcomes hiccup to march into French Open semi-finals

Rafael Nadal GETTYRafael Nadal's clash was heavily interrupted by rain and eventually delayed for the day
Shannon Reynolds | 08 June, 2018, 20:36

Rafael Nadal extinguished the threat of Juan Martin del Potro to canter into another French Open final, where he will be seeking a record-extending 11th title.

World number one Rafael Nadal will play Argentine Juan Martin del Potro in his 11th French Open semi-final appearance on Friday.

Dominic Thiem reached his first Grand Slam final and ended the surprising French Open run of 72nd-ranked Marco Cecchinato of Italy.

That was part of a 15-minute roll of three consecutive games for Nadal, a wave during which he collected 13 of 15 points to close in on that set. The last time Del Potro contended a Grand Slam final, he won it at the 2009 US Open.

"I would sign with blood to win against Thiem and reach the final even if I were to lose against Nadal". "Of course he's a tough opponent, and he's going to always be a tough match". He played some fantastic aggressive tennis to get through Djokovic in the quarters, just like he played unbelievable aggressive tennis to get to the quarters.

His opponent Friday will be Juan Martin del Potro, who got choked up after waiting almost a decade to return to the final four in Paris - and dealing with three wrist operations in the interim.

Nadal, who has lifted the trophy every time he has reached the last four at Roland Garros, broke to love at the start of the third and went on to register a comprehensive straight-sets victory. "The big key was this set".

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Nadal, dubbed the "King of Clay" for his domination on the red dirt, had his back against the wall at 3-2 down in the second set Wednesday before the match was halted for rain.

Schwartzman showed flashes of the brilliance he showed in the first set and early in the second, but Nadal saved three break points with majestic winners and held to move into the last four yet again.

Del Potro will be playing in a Grand Slam semi-final for the fifth time when he steps onto Court Philippe Chatrier, with a place in the final against either surprise package Marco Cecchinato or Dominic Thiem up for grabs.

"It was a really close tiebreak and I didn't want that especially after I missed an easy volley at 6/4". It marks the world No. 6's first French Open semifinal since 2009.

Neither man was able to win a set.

Nadal said: "Thiem is an fantastic player". However, I said that I'd be shocked if Cecchinato defeated Djokovic, and he managed that feat, so the Italian clay-courter can not be completely written off in advance.

Cecchinato had sent Novak Djokovic packing in a thrilling quarter-final but Thiem's class on clay proved too much.

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