Del Potro defeats Cilic to reach semifinals

Tennis: Rafael Nadal reaches 11th French Open semifinal

Del Potro powers past Cilic to set up Rafa clash

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.

Nadal, who saved all seven break points faced and has now won 33 of 36 sets in semi-final matches at Roland Garros, will face Dominic Thiem in Sunday's final after the Austrian seventh seed reached his first Grand Slam final by beating Italian Marco Cecchinato 7-5 7-6 (12-10) 6-1 earlier on Friday.

"Del Potro has achieved great victories this year", said Nadal who dropped his first set at Roland Garros in three years in his quarter-final victory over Diego Schwartzman. In order to beat Federer's record, Nadal needs to reach at least the quarter-finals every year until 2026.

Nadal was not in a charitable frame of mind, though, as he cantered through his next service game with new balls to edge closer to another final. That said, Nadal is on clay and picking against him to lose on this surface at the French Open seems like a foolish move.

Nadal can become just the second male player in the Open era to reach 11 finals at the same Grand Slam tournament, equaling Roger Federer's record at Wimbledon.

"It is going to be tough one but I'm going to fight".

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"I played more aggressive". And I spoke to Dominic on Friday, and he made it clear to me that best-of-five at Roland Garros is so very different from best-of-three in Madrid.

Del Potro has had success against Nadal in the past, with five wins in their 14 meetings.

Thiem, who beat Nadal in three sets in May, is ranked No. 8 in the world and will be playing in his first grand slam final.

"I think the big key was the second set because it was a close tie-break", said the 24-year-old.

The pair were locked at 5-5 in a first-set tie break when the rain came, and it was fifth seed Del Potro who took the first two points upon the resumption to draw first blood. The two traded games the remainder of the set, allowing Stephens to seal it on her serve in the 10th game.

This is evidenced by coming back from 2-0 down against Copil, winning the final sets in 3-1 wins over Pablo Carreno-Busta and David Goffin by dominant margins, and then fighting back from the brink against Novak Djokovic in the fourth set on Wednesday - Thiem will have to keep on his toes even if he does get into an early lead. We have officially run out of superlatives to describe this man's clay court greatness, and we've also run out of intra-tennis comparisons.

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