Rafael Nadal overcomes hiccup to march into French Open semi-finals

Ruben Hill
June 8, 2018

I feel at home here.

- Has never failed to win Roland Garros after reaching semi-finals, but joked on Thursday that he "is a human person". However, I said that I'd be shocked if Cecchinato defeated Djokovic, and he managed that feat, so the Italian clay-courter can not be completely written off in advance.

Nadal's defence work, snaring his opponent into unforced errors, resulted in an early break in the second but Del Potro's service game deteriorated as he lost seven games on the spin to leave himself in need of a regroup, but it was one-way traffic.

Sloane Stephens' clash with Madison Keys represented a rematch of the 2017 US Open final, which Stephens won.

He looked destined to be a multiple Grand Slam champion after winning the US Open as a 20-year-old, but nearly had to quit the sport because of career-threatening wrist problems.

Brett: Marco Cecchinato kept his dream run going after upsetting Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals. "Here with Federer. It's fantastic for the tennis, the tennis world".

Nadal, meanwhile, lost his first set at the French Open since 2015 but that blip did not stop him marching into the semi-finals with a 4-6 6-3 6-2 6-2 victory over Diego Schwartzman.

But reaching such heady heights would have seemed a long way off when he started his 2016 season ranked outside the world's top 1,000. Next up on Philippe-Chatrier was Nadal-the King of Clay on his court-and he delivered a terrific performance, making del Potro look patently average en route to a 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 victory.

"I had surgery three times on my wrist and I was close to quitting this sport".

"It's tough to speak now, " the del Potro said. Additionally, emotion and momentum has to be on the side of Del Potro, who is thrilled to be at this stage, while Nadal faces all the pressure of expectations. "He has fantastic potential", said the 16-time Grand Slam champion. He played some incredible aggressive tennis to get through Djokovic in the quarters, just like he played fantastic aggressive tennis to get to the quarters.

"He was playing great, and I was playing too defensive". Amazingly, nine years had passed since he made his first French Open semifinal.

"It's kind of the same run. The advantage, of course, is you play (with) nothing to lose", said Kuerten, who went on to become the world number one.

"You know, you have a lot in (your) favour". I mean, the crowd are unbelievable, and that happens very often.

Thiem, 24, will contest his first major final after beating unseeded Italian Marco Cecchinato in straights sets earlier on Friday.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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