Rafael Nadal overcomes hiccup to march into French Open semi-finals

The defending champion was down 6-4, 3-5 when play was halted on Wednesday due to rain, but back on court he lost just four games in an hour and 42 minutes, and now will face either Marin Cilic or Juan Martin del Potro.

Across the way at Court Suzanne Lenglen, No. 5 del Potro got distracted by a spectator right before a key double-fault, then marched over toward the stands to try to figure out who it was.

"I am a human person", the Spaniard, who next faces Argentine Juan Martin del Potro, told reporters following his 4-6 6-3 6-2 6-2 victory. That said, Thiem has already been at a high level for a long time and he'll be used to this situation.

"Well, it's tough to speak", the 29-year-old, who has risen back to sixth in the rankings after battling back from three left wrist surgeries, said on court as fans sang "Delpo, Delpo".

Brett: I don't know if Rafael Nadal would've lost to Diego Schwartzman if there wasn't the delay, but the delay certainly didn't hurt the ten-time Roland Garros champion.

"Of course, I didn't expect to be in the top five again, to reach the semifinals at the big tournament after all my injuries", del Potro said.

Back in 2009, it was Federer who stopped del Potro in Paris. He went on to win the U.S. Open the same year by defeating Federer in the final.

He buckled at 5-5 though and sent a backhand long on break point, leaving Del Potro to serve for the match, which he did easily as Cilic sent three more backhands out.

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And although Nadal is the heavy favourite to win the trophy - but Del Potro has the belief he can pull off a huge upset. "I missed a lot at the beginning of the match".

"I played more aggressive".

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.

The injury-plagued former US Open champion Del Potro wept courtside after beating third seed Cilic to reach the last four for the second time, but first in nine years.

Things improved for Nadal after a first rain interruption on Wednesday. "And in the end, I got it, and now I'm having a great present, looking forward for the future".

The 37-set run was Nadal's longest at the French Open, where the record of 41 was established by Bjorn Borg from 1978-81. It's the first semifinal between a pair of American women at Roland Garros since Serena Williams beat Jennifer Capriati on her way to the 2002 title. "We'll see what can I do against the king of clay".

We're nearly to the end of the French Open for 2018.

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