Del Potro had forced six break points during the first set but Nadal fended each one off. The No. 1 men's tennis player in the world cruised on Friday - looking vintage in domination -, who entered the French Open semis as No. 6 player in the ATP World Tour rankings.
Nadal may be historically dominant, writes Jack Houghton, but Sunday's final could be a changing-of-the-guard, and an aggressive approach to the Set Betting market is the call.
The semi final victory over Juan Martin del Potro was marred by the Argentine needing to request his physiotherapist come onto the court to evaluate a hip injury. Cilic is serving at love-30 in the 11th game. The second set like, the first was dominated by serve until Cilic fired himself up to break at 4-4 - a furious Del Potro throwing his racket at the changeover.
His 6-4 6-1 6-2 victory means he has now reached his 24th Grand Slam final and equals Roger Federer's record for most finals at a single major - Federer's coming at Wimbledon.
An easy smash into the net midway through the fourth set characterised his problems, a total of 25 unforced errors compared to eight winners in the final two sets underlining the pressure being put on by Nadal.
Del Potro is playing in the French Open semifinals for the first time in nine years.
The 37-set run was Nadal's longest at the French Open.
The 16th-seeded Gauff, who is 14 years old, beat 15th-seeded Leylah Annie Fernandez of Canada 6-4, 6-3.
Nadal won 10 of the first 11 points played in the third set and broke his 11th-seeded rival twice.
"I had the feeling he had control of the point too many times to have the chance to be successful". "I missed a lot at the beginning of the match". I am so proud to be playing tennis.
"He said "I'm a human man, a human person and I get nervous".
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Backed by fans who loudly chanted her first name between games, Halep went ahead 3-0 with the help of only one victor.
Kerber, a former United States and Australian Ooen champion and ex-number one is in her second quarter-final in Paris, six years after her first. Nadal's astonishing French Open record now reads: Won 85, lost two.
The pair had resumed their quarter-final level at 5-5 in a first-set tie-break.
"The second-set tiebreak was the big key to the match, 100 per cent, because obviously he felt all the matches from these two weeks after that", the seventh seed said.
They have won three Grand Slam titles together: the French Open in 2013, the U.S. Open in 2014 and Wimbledon previous year. Get ready for an 11-time champion.
Muguruza raced to a 4-0 lead and never looked back.
The players only managed another 20 minutes on court before more rain forced them off for the night, but it was enough for momentum to switch in Nadal's favour.
"It is nearly impossible to beat Rafa", said Del Potro who had his chances in the semi-final but failed to convert any of his seven break points before his challenge petered out into tired hopelessness.
Muguruza had hammered Maria Sharapova in the quarter-final but Halep was a different proposition entirely - and it seemed she knew it. Sharapova was the French Open champion in 2012 and 2014; Muguruza took the trophy in 2016.
Top seed Simona Halep, twice a runner-up, takes on two-time major victor Angelique Kerber.