Del Potro defeats Cilic to reach semifinals

Rafael Nadal lost a set at French Open for the first time since 2015

Rafael Nadal lost a set at French Open for the first time since 2015

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.

Both shots were on full display Thursday at the French Open, where del Potro advanced to the semifinals by overcoming No. 3 Marin Cilic, 7-6 (5), 5-7, 6-3, 7-5.

Juan Martin del Potro insists he has "nothing to lose" against overwhelming favourite Rafa Nadal in the Roland Garros semi-final.

Cecchinato had never won a Grand Slam match before this year's Roland Garros but made the semis with a string of stunning wins.

"I don't give much attention to those studies". Resuming at 5-5 in the first-set tiebreaker after the rain halted play the previous night, del Potro hit 19 aces and served beautifully under pressure.

The semifinals in the men's singles draw are set for Friday at the French Open, which means that No. 1 Rafael Nadal will be in action on back-to-back days. He required treatment on a hip problem suffered early in the first set and visibly wilted in the second, raising his arms in mock celebration when he won a solitary game while already 5-0 behind.

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He walked away from the podium in Thursday's early morning hours with the same understanding fans who piled out of Quicken Loans. He was dribbling against Warriors 7-footer JaVale McGee with a few seconds remaining on the shot clock.

"I don't know if I will win, but I will take a big love from you", Del Potro told the crowd.

This was the No. 5-seeded del Potro's first semifinal at Roland Garros since 2009.

The second set was also dominated by serve until Cilic fired himself up to break at 4-4 - a furious del Potro throwing his racket at the changeover.

Nadal has never failed to win the title when reaching the last four at Roland Garros, but knows that Del Potro, who he has lost to five times, is a unsafe opponent. That said, Thiem has already been at a high level for a long time and he'll be used to this situation. I have had three surgeries on my left wrist and I was close to quitting. The 32-year-old Spaniard is 84-2 for his career at the French Open, winning four consecutive titles from 2005-08, another five consecutive from 2010-14, and No. 10 a year ago.

Del Potro will be playing in a Grand Slam semi-final for the fifth time when he steps onto Court Philippe Chatrier, with a place in the final against either surprise package Marco Cecchinato or Dominic Thiem up for grabs. But I get closer to them, just asking who was it? The two traded games the remainder of the set, allowing Stephens to seal it on her serve in the 10th game. "We'll see what can I do against the king of clay".

"I felt that I was playing a little bit under more stress than usual, and he was able to take control of the point too many times", said Nadal.

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