Del Potro directs frustration at Paris spectator

Del Potro directs frustration at Paris spectator

Ruthless Rafael Nadal punished Juan Martin del Potro for missed opportunities as he reached his 11th French Open final with a 6-4 6-1 6-2 victory on Friday.

Nadal has now won 24 of his 27 Grand Slam semi-finals as he swept aside the threat of the Argentine in clinical fashion to set up a meeting with Dominic Thiem - the only man to have beaten him on the dirt in 2018 - in Sunday's final.

The Austrian was in control of his semi-final against the world number 72, holding three set points in a tie-break for a 2-0 lead. Dominic Thiem is an incredible player.

Interestingly, Del Potro has never won a match on clay when priced in excess of [3.0], with his last outing ending in straight sets (and a final set bagel) at the hands of Andy Murray at this venue in 2017, so he will have to reverse this history, not to mention a 3-0 clay head-to-head deficit as well, to make Sunday's final.

He appeared nearly overcome with emotion after reaching his first French Open semi-final since 2009, when he was beaten by eventual champion Roger Federer. For Nadal, that happened when he was down a break at 3-2 in the second set, and the delay of a little less than an hour seemed to help him begin to change course against Schwartzman, a 5-foot-7 (1.70-meter) Argentine who was putting almost every shot right where he wanted to in the early stages. I know I have to play at my best.

Nadal is now just the second man to reach 11 finals at the same Slam, equalling Roger Federer's mark at Wimbledon. Hopefully today will be an exception, and the enduringly popular Juan Martin del Potro will at least give the 10-time champion Rafael Nadal a fright.

"It's tough to speak now, " the del Potro said.

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"He's an wonderful player", Nadal said of Thiem.

Upon resumption, the Spaniard gradually improved before rain brought an early end to the day with Nadal on the brink of winning the second set. Looking at the bigger picture, Nadal hadn't ceded a set in Paris since 2015, when he lost to Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals.

"I had surgery three times on my wrist and I was close to quitting this sport". When play resumed Thursday, Nadal got the two points he needed to claim the set and had all the momentum from there.

"I played more aggressive". Nadal looked much better Thursday than Wednesday, but I think the Argentine has a big enough game-especially if the weather is overcast-to pull off the huge shocker.

"It's never easy playing someone from your country, let alone someone you actually care about and you're friends with", Stephens said afterward. 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.

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.

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