Nadal, Del Potro set up semi-final blockbuster

Diego Schwartzman was in control before the first rain interruption

Resuming at 5-5 in the first-set tiebreaker after the rain halted play the previous night, del Potro hit 19 aces and served beautifully under pressure.

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.

The unheralded Cecchinato simply being here is freaky for a number of reasons, not least his 10-8 final set success over Marius Copil in the first round, a match which lasted nearly four hours.

The best player can lose his cool on occasion, even if he's known as the "gentle giant". Nadal hopes to make his 11th French Open final appearance.

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.

The second set was also dominated by serve until Cilic fired himself up to break at 4-4 - a furious del Potro throwing his racket at the changeover.

The delay enabled Nadal to regroup and he turned the deficit into a 5-3 lead before a second stoppage ended play for the day.

"And when I was able to change that, I was able to win the game and the match".

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Croatian Cilic played an terrible game when serving for the set but he was gifted another chance to serve for the set after breaking del Potro again and at the second time of asking he levelled the match. This really changed totally how I was looking at the match and how my opponent was looking at the match. I knew it was going to be a tough match and I was a little bit more nervous than usual.

"I don't have any obligation to win, first thing".

The fourth set went hurriedly with serve until 5-5, when from out of nowhere Del Potro fashioned three break points. "I've still got a long time left, I can keep playing until I'm 41". I had three surgeries on my left wrist.

Asked about facing Nadal, who he has beaten five out of 14 times but never on clay, he was drowned out by his fans who clearly believe in their man's chances.

"I've been a long time without feeling good with my body".

Top-ranked Simona Halep is up against 2016 champion Garbine Muguruza in the other semifinal match.

"I played again one of my best matches on clay", Halep said after coming back from a break down in the second set. Here with Federer. After 10 years, they are [still] fighting to win these kind of tournaments. 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.

"I thought that after nine years I will play a different one, not Rafa or Roger", he added.

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