Published: Fri, June 08, 2018
Sport | By Wendy Sparks

Del Potro to face Nadal in first French Open semifinal since 2009

Del Potro to face Nadal in first French Open semifinal since 2009

With Nadal recording 0.96 chances per game on return this season on clay, it is evident that Del Potro will have to serve much better to even have a chance of keeping it close against the King of Clay, who has broken opponents 50.5% of the time on clay in the last 12 months.

I'll be back tomorrow to assess the ladies final, and again on Sunday to preview the men's final - I fully expect it to be Nadal v Thiem, but we shall see if Messrs Del Potro and Cecchinato can do anything about this.

Nadal fought off four break points in the decisive eighth game of the third set and added four more break points saved on his way to victory in the fourth set.

The Austrian, who has been a constant in the top-10 over the last two years, is one of the most talented players of his generation but hasn't yet had a big breakthrough at the Grand Slams.

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Nadal is only the third male player in the Open era to reach 11 semifinals at a single Grand Slam, alongside Roger Federer and Jimmy Connors. The 32-year-old Spaniard is 84-2 for his career at the French Open, winning four consecutive titles from 2005-08, another five consecutive from 2010-14, and No. 10 a year ago. I was more happy with the change.

Muguruza has not dropped a set so far in this year's tournament as she seeks a second championship in Paris and third major trophy overall.

The delay enabled Nadal to regroup and he turned the deficit into a 5-3 lead before a second stoppage ended play for the day.

Croatian Cilic played an terrible game when serving for the set, making four unforced errors, but he was gifted another chance to serve for the set after breaking Del Potro again and at the second time of asking he levelled the match.

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Nadal's serve was picked apart by Schwartzman on Wednesday, but the world number one conceded just one point from his first three service games.

He buckled at 5-5 and sent a backhand long on break point, leaving del Potro to serve for the match, which he did easily as Cilic sent three more backhands out. I felt that I was playing a little bit under more stress than usual, and he was able to take control of the point too many times.

"It has been a long time without a good feeling in my body". I'm not interested in these things, I just play tennis. Only one of his wins at Roland Garros this year has been decided via straight sets, but a common theme seems to be that he's got better as matches have got longer. He went on to win the U.S. Open the same year by defeating Federer in the final.

Two women who have won the title at Roland Garros, Maria Sharapova and Garbine Muguruza, play each other in the quarterfinals. "But I think we always compete well and play good matches".

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