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12 June 2018, 04:48 | Henrietta Morgan
Del Potro directs frustration at Paris spectator
They tried their best to rouse their man in the third set but it was mission impossible as Nadal, clubbing the ball as if his life depended on it, finished like a raging bull as he headed into his 24th Grand Slam final. It will be followed by the all-American matchup between Madison Keys and Sloane Stephens.
The pair were locked on serve in the second set until they were separated by an enthralling tiebreak.
He fired long on a first set point, Nadal saved the second with a jaw-dropping drop shot but on the third, just after the match was interrupted for a few minutes while an unwell spectator was evacuated, Schwartzman unleashed a stunning forehand victor down the line - his 20th victor.
ITV 1 will show live coverage of the French Open men's final from 1.30pm. Their previous match up saw the Spaniard beat del Potro in straight sets in the opening round in 2007.
Cecchinato had never won a Grand Slam match until this tournament.
At least Thiem can boast being the only man to have defeated Nadal on clay in the last two years.
Still Nadal pressed, with blistering forehand winners flowing, breaking again for a 4-1 lead and sealing victory three games later with an easy hold. Over the past two years, including best-of-three matches, the Spaniard is 49-2 at clay tournaments.
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Nadal is going for title number 11 at Roland Garros. Of players under 29, only Thiem and Milos Raonic have reached major singles finals: Raonic lost in the 2016 Wimbledon final to Andy Murray.
Thiem has been in complete control of every match this tournament and is playing some of his most consistent tennis of his life, as he's now in the final for the third time in his last four events.
He buckled at 5-5 though and sent a backhand long on break point, leaving Del Potro to serve for the match, which he did easily as Cilic sent three more backhands out.
Now comes what del Potro called "the challenge that every player wants to have" - taking on Nadal at Roland Garros.
The injury-prone Argentine had a discussion with Dr. Bernard Montalvan during the changeover, with Nadal leading 3-2 in the first set.
The pivotal part of the match was the second-set tiebreaker.
"That does not mean I would not love to be wrong", he said.
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The world number one is still the overwhelming favorite to pick up his 11th French Open title, but former victor Mats Wilander thinks Juan Martin del Potro, Nadal's semi-final opponent could cause him some troubles.
He appeared to be in near peak form against del Potro - once the all important first set went in his favor. At No. 72, he is the lowest-ranked French Open semifinalist since 1999. Applying this to Sunday's final, we might expect to see three or four sets, but are less likely to see five.
Garbine Muguruza overwhelmed Maria Sharapova 6-2, 6-1 in a matchup of past French Open champions to reach the semifinals.
His huge serve helped him to save set points too and he finally gained the upper hand to take a two-set lead. Still, I know how to play against him.
Rafael Nadal's bid for an 11th French Open title continues with the resumption of his rain-interrupted quarterfinal against 11th-seeded Diego Schwartzman of Argentina.
The women's semifinals are also on Thursday's schedule.
One of those was a 6-3, 6-4, 6-0 rout in the Roland Garros semi-finals 12 months ago. Nadal has never been as vulnerable in a Roland Garrros final as he will be on Sunday.
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