Published: Tue, June 12, 2018
Sports | By Brooke Harris

Nadal eyes 11th French Open title as clock ticks

Nadal eyes 11th French Open title as clock ticks

That led to 34 winners (eight more than Nadal) but also 42 unforced errors (18 more than Nadal).

Although he lost the first point of the fourth game, a flawless drop shot got Schwartzman to 15-all, and a backhand victor from followed by a drop shot gave Nadal a second break an 4-1 lead.

He fired long on a first set point, Nadal saved the second with a jaw-dropping drop shot but on the third, just after the match was interrupted for a few minutes while an unwell spectator was evacuated, Schwartzman unleashed a stunning forehand victor down the line - his 20th victor.

This was the No. 5-seeded del Potro's first semifinal at Roland Garros since 2009.

So nerves could come into play in the early going against Nadal, who will be bidding for his 17th major title overall.

Del Potro certainly has the firepower to trouble Nadal.

"I played more aggressive", Nadal said, adding: "In my opinion, the match changed, no?" Nadal is 49-0 against everyone else on his preferred surface in 2017 and 2018. On the second, Thiem defeated Nadal 7-5, 6-3.

Both teams are through to the final at Roland Garros for the first time after securing uspet wins on Court Suzanne Lenglen.

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Women's semifinals: No. 1 Simona Halep beat No. 3 Garbine Muguruza 6-1, 6-4.

Earlier, the Japanese duo won 6-2, 6-2 against Hao-Ching Chan of Taiwan and Zhaoxuan Yang of China 6-2, 6-2.

Converted to dollars, the French Open's total offering comes out at $46.3m - ahead of Wimbledon's $45.6m and the Australian Open's $44.5m. Ten-time champion Nadal completed a 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 win over Diego Schwartzman. No. 10 Sloane Stephens beat No. 13 Madison Keys 6-4, 6-4.

That Rafael Nadal would reach a record 11th French Open semifinal, closing in on his 11th championship at Roland Garros, was hardly surprising. He was also able to raise his level when in danger, saving three break points in the eighth game of the third set with great shot-making, and four more in the final set.

Nadal won the first two points of the eighth game and reached the second match point at 40-30. "He has fantastic potential", said the 16-time Grand Slam champion.

Now she stands between Halep and her first Grand Slam trophy.

But they face stiff competition in the final against Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut.

"I'm feeling so, so happy to make the right decision to play here".

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"There is a reason why he won 11 times here", said Thiem, a 24-year-old Austrian appearing in his first major final.

While Nadal's dominance in Paris can never be doubted, this year's inexorable march to the final has illustrated the paucity of genuine challengers, especially in the absence of Andy Murray and Roger Federer, and with Novak Djokovic being some way from his best after injury.

He broke the Austrian in the third game of the set.

"But it's always tough against Rafa (Rafael Nadal)".

The 25-year-old was banned for match-fixing in 2016, a penalty overturned on appeal.

Two past U.S. Open champions meet in the other men's quarterfinal: No. 3 Marin Cilic against No. 5 Juan Martin del Potro. Their semifinal is later Friday.

But Thiem showed resilience in getting two break points on Nadal's serve.

The burly Argentine recovered his usual unflustered demeanour, hitting back from 0-2 to take the third set.

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There will be much to ponder though for Nadal and coach Carlos Moya as Schwartzman still looked capable of registering a first win against Nadal at the sixth attempt.

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