Published: Wed, June 13, 2018
Sports | By Brett Lawson

Halep to face Stephens for title as Nadal sweeps into semifinals

Halep to face Stephens for title as Nadal sweeps into semifinals

"He beat me in Madrid and he has incredible power", said Nadal ahead of their French Open final.

"True, I understand that everybody here, you have to write things", he said.

Schwartzman, who came back from two sets down to beat Kevin Anderson in the last 16, rediscovered his form, but it came too late to save the set as Nadal served it out in a marathon eighth game on his second set point after saving four break points.

Nadal‚ a 16-time Grand Slam champion‚ claimed his 85th win in Paris against just two losses after weathering a big-hitting opening from 2009 US Open victor Del Potro to win 6-4‚ 6-1‚ 6-2.

Del Potro will be playing in a Grand Slam semi-final for the fifth time when he steps onto Court Philippe Chatrier, with a place in the final against either surprise package Marco Cecchinato or Dominic Thiem up for grabs.

Rafael Nadal has defeated Dominic Thiem 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 to win a record-extending 11th title at the French Open.

The first set was a tight affair, with Thiem claiming the decisive break in the 11th game but the Italian retained his composure to send the second to a tie-break.

The world number one held serious discussions with coach Carlos Moyá in an intense session in the heat as he studiously went about his business.

Nadal has a 9-5 head-to-head record against del Potro.

The 10-time champion was much-improved under the sunshine on Court Philippe Chatrier after finding life hard the night before, clinching a 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 victory over dogged Argentinian Schwartzman on his fourth match point.

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"Of course there is pressure, especially in Grand Slam finals, because I have gone a very long way now and I don't want to lose the final", said Thiem. "But I will not give (it to) him, '" Nadal said.

Truth is, there were not many the rest of the way, as Nadal finished with 35 winners and just 19 unforced errors. You don't get to a Grand Slam semi-final by accident.

The last one in US Open I lost against Rafa.

Easing through the third set, Thiem became only the second Austrian player to reach the final of Ronald Garros, following in the footsteps of Thomas Muster, who won the title in 1995.

Looking ahead to the final and recalling Thiem's victory over Nadal in Madrid, a exhausted del Potro uttered: "Maybe on Sunday (Thiem) can repeat".

By then, Nadal was finding his spots.

Del Potro will be his opponent on Friday after eliminating No. 3 seed Marin Cilic 7-6 (5), 5-7, 6-3, 7-5 to make into the semifinals for the first time since 2009. Thiem withstood a barrage of break points to hold in a marathon sixth game, which he thought he had won at 40-30 when he left a wide ball, only for the umpire to overrule the line judge.

The No. 6-seeded pairing from the Czech Republic beat Eri Hozumi and Makoto Ninomiya of Japan 6-3, 6-3 on Sunday.

The Argentine has never beaten Nadal on clay.

Del Potro, the US Open victor in 2009, is playing the tournament for only the second time since 2012 after a spate of injuries.

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