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

08 June 2018

Juan Martin del Potro is back in the French Open semifinals for the first time since 2009 and will next face Rafael Nadal, the man with the most appearances at this stage of the clay-court Grand Slam.

Del Potro was unable to hold back the tears upon completing his upset of Cilic, returning to a Grand Slam semi for the first time since last year's U.S. Open, and the Paris crowd celebrated the South American's achievement.

The pair were locked at 5-5 in a first-set tie break when the rain came, and it was fifth seed Del Potro who took the first two points upon the resumption to draw first blood.

'It has been a long time without a good feeling on my body. I was close to quit this sport.

Rafa Nadal found his form when his French Open clash with Diego Schwartzman restarted on Thursday and won 12 of the first 13 points on his way to booking a place in the semi finals with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 victory.

In the last two years, Thiem has been knocked out at the semi-final stage of French Open by the eventual title victor - Novak Djokovic in 2016 and Nadal in 2017.

He buckled at 5-5 though 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.

He will face Rafael Nadal in the semi-final.

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More important than that, of course, is the match's ultimate outcome, and a significant moment came with Schwartzman serving while up 3-2 in the second after the initial delay. He was also able to raise his level when in danger, saving three break points in the eighth game of the third set with great shot-making, and four more in the final set. "It was like a new match after the first set".

"I played more aggressive".

The injury-plagued former US Open champion Del Potro wept courtside after beating third seed Cilic to reach the last four for the second time, but first in nine years.

He briefly lost his focus toward the end of the second set when he appeared to be distracted by a spectator just before hitting a double-fault to drop his serve and give Cilic a 5-4 lead. "And I have been trying and trying every day to fix my problem in my wrist", Del Potro said.

Twice the runner-up in Paris, Halep has qualified for the final by defeating 2016 champion Garbine Muguruza 6-1, 6-4.

"I'm going to try and come out with my best tennis, to hit all my best shots and, even then, it's going to be hard", he added.

We're nearly to the end of the French Open for 2018. "But I think we always compete well and play good matches".