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Del Potro: Nothing to lose against Nadal

08 June, 2018, 12:27 | Author: Tommie Newton
  • GETTYRafael Nadal is in the French Open quarter-finals

Former US Open champion del Potro's decision to enter the Paris tournament at the last minute has paid dividends after a quarter-final win over Marin Cilic earned him a final four showdown against Nadal.

Del Potro's win over Cilic on Thursday was an emotional one for the sixth-ranked 29-year-old, who will return to the top four of the ATP rankings for the first time since February 2014 on Monday.

Third-seed Cilic lost two points after the pair resumed play on Thursday poised at 5-5 in a first-set tiebreak, although he hit back to level in the second set despite hitting more double faults and unforced errors than his opponent. "It has been a long time without good feelings". I was close to quit this sport.

Nadal, meanwhile, lost his first set at the French Open since 2015 but that blip did not stop him marching into the semi-finals with a 4-6 6-3 6-2 6-2 victory over Diego Schwartzman. "I felt that I was playing a little bit under more stress than usual, and he was able to take control of the point too many times", Nadal said about the match's start.

Yesh: It has been nearly a decade since del Potro made the semifinals here.

In the last two years, Thiem has been knocked out at the semi-final stage of French Open by the eventual title victor - Novak Djokovic in 2016 and Nadal in 2017.

Del Potro, the US Open victor in 2009, is playing the tournament for only the second time since 2012 after a spate of injuries. "I'm not that young anymore", Thiem had said before his quarter-final match Alexander Zverev.

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"I played more aggressive", Nadal said, adding: "In my opinion, the match changed, no?"

Two years ago, Del Potro had nearly considered giving up on tennis when he was sidelined after wrist surgeries and had fallen out of the top-1000 in the ATP rankings.

Nadal's serve was picked apart by Schwartzman on Wednesday, but the world number one conceded just one point from his first three service games.

A fearless Schwartzman took inspiration from David and Goliath as he fought back from two sets down to beat Kevin Anderson in the fourth round and slayed Nadal - who struggled on serve and returned poorly - in the first set.

(1) Simona Halep bt. This year, he couldn't have asked for a better opponent to make that "great step" - he plays the unseeded Cecchinato, who had never won a Grand Slam main draw match before this tournament. However, Cecchinato is on fire and we've already seen the upsets this Italian can cause. "It's so good for me, for my team, for my family".

Canada's Gabriela Dabrowski and Croatia's Mate Pavic lost their mixed doubles final at the French Open on Thursday.

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