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Nadal overcomes hiccup to march into Paris semi-finals

Nadal overcomes hiccup to march into Paris semi-finals

"Nadal is still playing at only seventy-five per cent efficiency and that, still, is good enough for him to beat tough opponents like Juan Martin del Potro".

The 16-year-old McNally, who is unseeded, beat Iga Swiatek of Poland 3-6, 7-6 (6), 6-4.

At long last, Thiem converted his fifth set point when Cecchinato sent a forehand long. Schwartzman saw two set points come and go but at the third time of asking, after a delay while a spectator was helped out after feeling ill, the Argentine ripped a forehand victor.

"Once he gets ahead in the match, his confidence gets back", said Moya, the 1998 French Open champion. Nadal claimed the final two points of that game in contrasting fashion, ripping a cross-court backhand that left the crowd gasping and deftly hitting a volley off a tricky net cord. In the victory, Thiem won 83 percent of his first serve points and 61 percent of his second serve points.

It is an eighth straight win for Del Potro in his meetings with Cilic.

I won't be going in again and backing Thiem in the final, but I won't be trading out of my pre-tournament bet either.

The Spaniard has never lost a final at Roland Garros with his win-loss record on Parisian Clay being 85-2.

Appearing in his third consecutive appearance in the final four at Roland Garros, Thiem finally got to face someone other than eventual champions Nadal (2017) or Novak Djokovic (2016), and he took full advantage.

He did not look unduly affected though and his heavy groundstrokes took a toll on Nadal who rescued three more break points in the ninth game.

However, Nadal has won both their clashes at Roland Garros - in 2014 and in last year's semi-finals by a comfortable 6-3, 6-4, 6-0 margin.

"And I had a lot of break points in the first set".

Stephens lost her serve for the first time against Keys when serving for the match at 5-2.

"I'm facing Rafa so I'm not the one who has the pressure", said Thiem.

This is the French Open championship collision that seemed inevitable from the start, the one that generated the most intrigue as the draw funneled down to this weekend.

Watch the final of the French Open LIVE on FOX SPORTS. Applying this to Sunday's final, we might expect to see three or four sets, but are less likely to see five. And he did just that, easier opponent notwithstanding, with a 7-5, 7-6 (12/10), 6-1 win.

Thiem was quick to respond, reeling off the next three games to take the set in 46 minutes.

Nadal has been untroubled en route to the semis, apart from a blip in the quarter-finals against Diego Schwartzman, but the towering Del Potro looms large on Court Philippe Chatrier on Friday.

However, the Austrian is wary that a best-of-five-set Grand Slam match represents a different challenge, especially at a tournament where the Spaniard has been beaten only twice in 87 matches.

Nadal saved another three break points before holding with a sublime victor, then unleashed a couple of magnificent shots and Del Potro netted a backhand to lose a set which he had the better of.

Thiem's massive forehand allowed him to race into a 5-2 lead in the tiebreak.

The 16th-seeded Gauff, who is 14 years old, beat 15th-seeded Leylah Annie Fernandez of Canada 6-4, 6-3.

The pair had resumed their quarter-final level at 5-5 in a first-set tie-break. Nadal has never been as vulnerable in a Roland Garrros final as he will be on Sunday.

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