Del Potro defeats Cilic to reach semifinals

Rafael Nadal has lost his first set at the French Open since 2015

GETTY IMAGES Rafael Nadal has lost his first set at the French Open since 2015

The top-ranked Spaniard will next face another Argentine in Juan Martin del Potro, who upset third-seeded Croatian Marin Cilic 7-6 (5), 5-7, 6-3, 7-5.

The unheralded Cecchinato simply being here is freaky for a number of reasons, not least his 10-8 final set success over Marius Copil in the first round, a match which lasted nearly four hours. Schwartzman, who hit 20 winners in the first set, had only 17 in the final three.

"I would sign with blood to win against Thiem and reach the final even if I were to lose against Nadal".

"Sometimes you play better, sometimes you are more nervous".

"I'm feeling so, so happy to make the right decision to play here. I'm not that young anymore", Thiem had said before his quarter-final match Alexander Zverev.

More important than that, of course, is the match's ultimate outcome, and a significant moment came with Schwartzman serving while up 3-2 in the second after the initial delay.

These two have played 14 times and Nadal has won nine of those meetings.

The 10-time champion lost the first set 6-4 to the impressive Argentine Wednesday, but returned under sunny skies Thursday to win the next three sets 6-3 6-2 6-2 to reach the French Open semifinals. I hope to be ready for it. So, are you really betting against Nadal? "I've still got a long time left, I can keep playing until I'm 41".

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In the other remaining quarterfinal, which will continue Thursday at Court Suzanne Lenglen, No. 3 Marin Cilic and No. 5 Juan Martin del Potro were at 5-all in a first-set tiebreaker when the play-ending shower came. In the victory, Nadal won 61 percent of his first serve points and 55 percent of his second serve points.

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. The last time Del Potro contended a Grand Slam final, he won it at the 2009 US Open. I have had three surgeries on my left wrist and I was close to quitting.

Two years ago, Del Potro had nearly considered giving up on tennis when he was sidelined after wrist surgeries and had fallen out of the top-1000 in the ATP rankings. I had more confidence. It gave Nadal a break point he converted when Schwartzman sailed a forehand long.

Halep is guaranteed to remain the world No. 1 after the tournament.

"I was a bit lucky", said Nadal, who is 10-0 in French Open semi-finals and 10-0 in finals at the tournament. It's the first semifinal between a pair of American women at Roland Garros since Serena Williams beat Jennifer Capriati on her way to the 2002 title. It's a little different in that aspect. He was not playing his best tennis. "It was like a new match after the first set".

Halep next faces third-seeded Garbine Muguruza.

We're nearly to the end of the French Open for 2018.

Pavic and Dabrowski were the top seed in Paris, while Chan and Dodig were seeded second. He went on to win the U.S. Open the same year by defeating Federer in the final.

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