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10 June 2018, 03:13 | Pamela Mathis
WATCH: Del Potro directs frustration at Paris spectator
Nadal will become only the second man in the Open era to play in more than 10 finals at the same Grand Slam when he takes on Dominic Thiem on Sunday - Roger Federer being the other with his Wimbledon exploits.
That is not to say Dominic Thiem'stime will come - it will, after knocking on the door for the last two years reaching the semi-finals, this is the next progressive step. For me it's incredible. One of those victories came against Thiem in last year's semi-final and was, if anything, more comprehensive than this one.
"The first set was very hard, with too many chances for Juan Martin", Nadal said.
"He's an awesome player", Nadal said of Thiem.
There were two massive underdogs competing in the men's semifinals at the French Open on Friday.
Looking ahead to the final and recalling Thiem's victory over Nadal in Madrid, a exhausted del Potro uttered: "Maybe on Sunday (Thiem) can repeat".
The tournament is unlikely to make up much ground on its rival Slams in the coming years as its organisers, the French Tennis Federation (FFT), focus on financing a modernisation project which includes a new centre court with a retractable roof.
"We know Thiem can beat him", Cash said.
"I have to play that way like I did in Rome and in Madrid", Thiem said.
"Forget the 10 (French Open titles) and forget what happened a year ago, Thiem has to remember what happened in Madrid which is a title Nadal wants to win nearly as much as the French", Wilander, Eurosport's chief analyst, told Reuters. Their previous match up saw the Spaniard beat del Potro in straight sets in the opening round in 2007.
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He suffered a worrying power cut in the second set, slipping to 5-0 down on a double break, wasting his seventh break point out of seven on the way. 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.
Nadal is now 110-2 in best-of-five-set matches on the surface, 85-2 in Paris. On the first date, Thiem defeated Nadal 6-4, 6-3.
"He's been a very complex opponent". Madrid is at altitude and although Nadal relishes the chance to play in front of Spanish fans, Madrid is a tricky place for him as the balls do fly and he does not have the same element of control he gets in Rome and Paris, which tend to be closer in conditions.
After del Potro served out his victory at love to get to his first semi-final at the clay-court Grand Slam tournament since 2009, he sat in his changeover seat, chest heaving.
In 2016, Cecchinato was accused of match-fixing and suspended for 18 months, but he appealed, and his punishment was dropped on a technicality.
Cecchinato brilliantly saved two break points at 2-2 in the second and continued to hold his own to reach a tie-break, where a series of sensational winners from both players saw Thiem let three successive set points slip.
"Not a very nice feeling", Thiem said.
The dramatic comeback from a set and break down against Schwartzman in the last eight proved Nadal's competitive desire is as strong as ever.
Thiem sent Cecchinato scurrying around the court before breaking decisively for a 6-5 lead with a lovely forehand victor.
"That was definitely the key to the match", Cecchinato said.
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