Ruthless Nadal crushes Del Potro to reach final

French Open- Roland Garros

Rafael Nadal battled back from a set down to beat Diego Schwartzman 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 in their rain-interrupted French Open quarterfinal on Thursday, edging closer to an 11th title in Paris.

Hopefully today will be an exception, and the enduringly popular Juan Martin del Potro will at least give the 10-time champion Rafael Nadal a fright.

It was swift and brutal. "That's why he's the No 1 and beating all the guys", said Del Potro. For Nadal, that happened when he was down a break at 3-2 in the second set, and the delay of a little less than an hour seemed to help him begin to change course against Schwartzman, a 5-foot-7 (1.70-meter) Argentine who was putting almost every shot right where he wanted to in the early stages.

Del Potro had required treatment on a hip problem suffered early in the first set and he visibly wilted in the second, raising his arms in mock celebration when he won a solitary game while already 5-0 behind.

Despite rain delaying his passage through to the final, Rafa Nadal has continued his incredible Roland Garros record by reaching yet another showpiece in France.

At least Thiem can boast being the only man to have defeated Nadal on clay in the last two years.

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"It's a challenge that every player wants to have", he said. "I believe I can be ready for that final".

Thiem earlier beat Marco Cecchinato - also in straight sets - to reach his first grand slam final.

The 10-time French Open champion was much more like his usual self, showing no signs of being troubled after having both wrists taped following the opening set in a lackluster performance the previous day.

The world No.1 had looked out of sorts on Wednesday, with the Argentine leading by a set and a break when the players were first called off the court.

"Maybe the experience helped a little bit but the big key was the second set tiebreak because it was very close and I saved I think three set points", said Thiem.

"It was a tough first set with opportunities for Juan Martin, I am fortunate that I won the first set and then I played more aggressively", Nadal, who equals Roger Federer's feat of reaching the final of a single slam 11 times, said on court as fans chanted "Viva Espana".

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Del Potro dipped at the start of the third and Cilic had points for a double break.

"That was not a nice feeling".

His Paris heroics have not exactly been the uplifting tale they should have been, though. Cecchinato was accused of match-fixing and suspended for 18 months in 2016, but he appealed, and his punishment was dropped on a technicality.

"Cristiano's body is 23 years old?" he questioned, "Then mine is forty-something".

Thiem was in control of his French Open semi-final against the world No 72 Cecchinato, holding three set points in a tie-break for a 2-0 lead.

"For me it was a special tournament", he said.

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