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Rafael Nadal vs Juan Martin del Potro, French Open 2018

08 June 2018

Rafael Nadal will face Dominic Thiem in the final of the French Open final after coasting to a 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 victory in his semi-final against the Argentinian Juan Martín del Potro.

Spain's Nadal will next play another Argentine Juan Martin del Potro after the former US Open champion beat Marin Cilic 7-6 5-7 6-3 7-5.

"I would sign with blood to win against Thiem and reach the final even if I were to lose against Nadal".

Nadal won the French Open on his debut as a 19-year-old and came into this year's event with a 79-2 win-loss record at Roland Garros. I think this is too good of an opportunity for Thiem to pass up.

"I have to play aggressively".

Nadal's backhand was doing most of the damage, with three winners having set up the double break on his way to a two-set lead, and Del Potro was broken to love in his first serve game of the third, with Nadal inflicting a devastating backhand victor up the flank after another majestic defence.

Nearly the best any player can hope for at Roland Garros is to merely trouble the clay-court master, to make him slightly uncomfortable and perhaps even win a set, as Schwartzman did, before the inevitable Nadal victory comes to pass.

Stephens broke Keys to begin the second set and once again established a 3-1 lead. Argentine Del Potro often had Nadal in trouble in a ferocious first set but paid heavily for failing to convert any of the six break points that came his way at 1-1 and 4-4.

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The fifth seed, who stunned Roger Federer to win the 2009 US Open at the age of 20, said he never imagined that the likes of the 20-time Grand Slam champion and Nadal would still be standing in his path at major tournaments nearly a decade later.

Del Potro, 29, is a popular figure among tennis fans, with affection for him growing further as a result of the catalogue of injuries he has suffered in recent years. "But now it's time to talk about my present in a good way". I have had three surgeries on my left wrist and I was close to quitting.

Del Potro has had success against Nadal in the past, with five wins in their 14 meetings.

"It's a challenge that every player wants to have", he said.

The 16-time major victor saw Schwartzman take a set off him in Paris for the first time since 2015, but Nadal survived a triple break-point before an injure scare to Del Potro appeared to swing the momentum away from the world number six.

"It was a really close tiebreak and I didn't want that especially after I missed an easy volley at 6/4".

Someone in the stands cried out during his serve, disrupting his focus as he double faulted and handed Cilic a critical break for 5-4 in the second set.

"I was a bit lucky", said Nadal, who is 10-0 in French Open semi-finals and 10-0 in finals at the tournament. "I saved two set points and luckily I won it". We have officially run out of superlatives to describe this man's clay court greatness, and we've also run out of intra-tennis comparisons.

Rafael Nadal vs Juan Martin del Potro, French Open 2018