Nadal, del Potro reach French Open semi-finals

June 7, 2018

Paris: Defending champion Rafael Nadal reached his 11th French Open semi-final by ruthlessly turning around his rain-delayed quarter-final against Argentine 11th seed Diego Schwartzman.
Top seed Nadal, 32, trailed 6-4 3-5 when play was halted on Wednesday. The world number one, bidding for a record-extending 11th title, clinched the second set soon after the restart. And he lost just four games in an hour and 42 minutes on court on Thursday to wrap up a 4-6 6-3 6-2 6-2 victory.
Nadal said he was a “bit lucky” the match was halted by rain.
“I was able to stop, to think, to calm down and to see things a bit with more clarity,” he said.
The Spaniard will face fifth seed Juan Martin del Potro in Friday’s semi-final after the Argentine beat third seed Marin Cilic 7-6 (7-5) 5-7 6-3 7-5 in another quarter-final that was moved to Thursday. Whoever wins that match will face either Austrian seventh seed Dominic Thiem or unseeded Italian Marco Cecchinato in Sunday’s final. Earlier, Nadal’s quarter-final against Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman was held up by rain.
Nadal, aiming for an 11th French Open title, trails the 11th seed 6-4 3-5. The Spaniard lost his first set at Roland Garros since 2015 before a one-hour rain delay halted play. Nadal, 32, fought back when the match resumed but more rain came and it was abandoned for the day at 18:37 BST. Nadal and Schwartzman will resume a gripping last-eight match at 11:00 BST on Thursday, with the 25-year-old Argentine seeking to become only the third player to beat Nadal in 86 singles matches at the French Open.
Nadal suffered a shock last-16 loss to Sweden’s Robin Soderling in 2009 and, less surprisingly, to then-world number one Novak Djokovic in their 2015 quarter-final. He also pulled out of the 2016 tournament with a wrist injury before his last-32 match against fellow Spaniard Marcel Granollers.
Nadal is the hot favourite to win the tournament, having dominated on the red clay since making his debut in 2005. But a seismic shock looked on the cards when Schwartzman, who has not beaten Nadal in five previous attempts, won the first set. Agencies