Published: Fri, June 08, 2018
Sports | By Ivan Ross

Rafael Nadal outlasts Schwartzman to reach 11th French Open semifinal

Rafael Nadal outlasts Schwartzman to reach 11th French Open semifinal

Despite battling bravely Cecchinato had nothing to show for his efforts after two sets and he seemed to be out of gas in the third, allowing Thiem to comfortably cruise through the set with two breaks of serve to clinch the victory and advance to his first Roland Garros - and Grand Slam - final.

Nadal will face either Croatian third seed Marin Cilic or Juan Martin del Potro, the fifth seeded Argentine, in the semifinals.

Marco Cecchinato stretches to hit a return as his run ended against Dominic Thiem. He will face Rafael Nadal in the semi-final.

The previous match up saw the Spaniard beat Del Potro in straight sets in the opening round in 2007. It marks the world No. 6's first French Open semifinal since 2009.

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Cilic, bidding to reach the semi-finals for the first time after falling in the last eight 12 months ago, kept his nose in front in the fourth.

"If I had lost [that set], it would have been a very close match", Thiem said. "He was a little unfortunate", said Nadal who reeled off 14 of the last 17 games, having seen Del Potro fail to convert any of his seven break points.

World number one Nadal was the overwhelming pre-tournament favourite to win an event he has dominated since making his debut as a teenager in 2005. Nadal hopes to make his 11th French Open final appearance.

Juan Martin del Potro, absent from the French Open semifinals for nine years, will be his opponent in the last four.

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Relentless Nadal broke to love at the start of the third, and as he moved on to match point an exhausted Del Potro paused for breath, bent double, as if he had been punched in the stomach. I had three surgeries on my left wrist.

Rafael Nadal is coming off a four sets win over Diego Schwartzman that took 35 games to decide.

"It's never easy playing someone from your country, let alone someone you actually care about and you're friends with", Stephens said afterward. When play resumed Thursday, Nadal got the two points he needed to claim the set and had all the momentum from there. Looking at the bigger picture, Nadal hadn't ceded a set in Paris since 2015, when he lost to Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals. "Still, I know how to play against him".

Cecchinato, whose career was nearly derailed two years ago by a match-fixing scandal before his name was cleared, stopped the rot in the sixth game. "The big key was this set".

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Dabrowski, a 26-year-old from Ottawa, and Pavic dropped the first set against Taiwan's Latisha Chan and Croatia's Ivan Dodig 6-1 but came back to win the second 7-6 (5). It is nice to get the two best clay courters possible in Sunday's final.

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