Del Potro powers past Cilic to set up Rafa clash

Rafael Nadal's French Open set streak ends in quarterfinals

Tennis: Rafael Nadal reaches 11th French Open semifinal

Argentina's Juan Martin del Potro said that he will have "nothing to lose" in his French Open semi-final clash with Rafael Nadal on Friday, after not even knowing whether he would play in the days before the tournament.

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.

In yesterday's delayed matches from Wednesday, Rafa Nadal completed his fightback over Diego Schwartzman, recovering from a set and break down to eventually ease through in four sets, while Marin Cilic succumbed to Juan Martin Del Potro, with the Argentine progressing also via a 3-1 scoreline, albeit in four rather tighter sets. In the fourth game Friday, del Potro clutched at his left hip after being wrong-footed by one shot from Nadal and was visited by a doctor at the next changeover. 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.

If Nadal's march toward an 11th championship at Roland Garros was going to be stopped on this day, things were going to have to go del Potro's way right then.

"I couldn't play my best because of him", said del Potro, the 2009 U.S. Open champion. Meanwhile Austria's Dominic Thiem is bidding to reach his maiden Grand Slam final against surprise semifinalist Marco Cecchinato of Italy. "But after the loss, I went a little bit down mentally".

The seventh-seeded Thiem, a 24-year-old Austrian, is, along with Alexander Zverev, one of the leaders of the new wave in men's tennis.

With that being said, Thiem is on the upswing of his career. "I have a plan".

In 2016, Cecchinato was accused of match-fixing and suspended for 18 months, but he appealed, and his punishment was dropped on a technicality.

Nevertheless, Cecchinato can look back on a breakthrough tournament - he had never won a match at a grand slam before beating Marius Copil 10-8 in the fifth set last week.

After dropping the first two sets he played in the opening round, Cecchinato came back to win that match in five sets, then proceeded to string together upsets.

World number 72 Cecchinato stunned Roland Garros on Tuesday by following up his surprise wins over top-10 seeds David Goffin and Pablo Carreno Busta with a breathtaking victory against 12-time major champion Djokovic.

Thiem got off the blocks quick with a break in the very firsts game after Cecchinato fought off with three deuces.

"Not a very nice feeling", Thiem said. The third quickly disappeared as well and Cecchinato had set points of his own, but Thiem finally put the Italian away before going on to win 7-5, 7-6, 6-1.

Facing set point as he trailed 9-10, Thiem audaciously sliced a backhand drop-shot victor.

But an industrious Thiem responded with a strong hold and broke back at 5-5 with a sizzling forehand victor down the line, and served out the set in just 45 minutes. The third set was dominated by Thiem, who raced to a 4-0, two-break lead in 12 minutes.

"He is, for me, the best competitor I ever saw in any sport, and I watch sport a lot for many, many years, " said Gunter Bresnik, Thiem's 57-year-old coach.

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