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Argentina's Juan Martin del Potro said that he will have "nothing to lose" in his French Open semi-final clash with Rafael Nadal on Friday, after not even knowing whether he would play in the days before the tournament.

Returning to Court Philippe Chatrier Thursday, Nadal quickly polished off the second set, and with it, effectively, Schwartzman's challenge.

Nadal or Del Potro's opponent will be known in advance of their match, with Marco Cecchinato's run from nowhere seeing him take on Dominic Thiem in the other semi-final.

Juan Martin del Potro took his frustration out on a fan during his quarterfinal Roland Garros encounter with Marin Cilic-though he couldn't quite figure out which spectator to zone in on.

"He's an fantastic player", Nadal said.

"Maybe", del Potro said.

Del Potro had required treatment on a hip problem suffered early in the first set and he visibly wilted in the second, raising his arms in mock celebration when he won a solitary game while already 5-0 behind. As long as Thiem continues to serve at such a high level, he's going to give himself a fair chance at the biggest victory of his career.

But following his win against Del Potro, Nadal explained that he struggled to get going - but when he did he looked unstoppable.

Del Potro said the Austrian, the only player to beat Nadal on clay over the past two seasons, has a chance - albeit a slim one.

The pivotal part of the match was the second-set tiebreaker in which both men played superbly - and both had chances to end it. Thiem went ahead 6-3, but wasted three set points there, including a bad volley into the net at 6-4 that left him chewing ruefully on his left index finger. However, he was beaten in the most recent - the US Open semi-final past year - and has lost nine of their 14 matches overall.

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The victor will play either seventh seed Dominic Thiem, who appears in his third straight semi-final in Paris or Italian Marco Cecchinato, who will hope to continue his dream run having beaten former champion Novak Djokovic in the last round.

One of those was a 6-3, 6-4, 6-0 rout in the Roland Garros semi-finals 12 months ago.

"I'm facing Rafa so I'm not the one who has the pressure", said Thiem.

Despite some spirited resistance, the 11th seed couldn't live with Nadal's new-found intensity and revamped strategy, and the 16-time grand slam champion sealed the victory for the loss of only four games with his fourth match point.

The No. 7-seeded Thiem beat Cecchinato 7-5, 7-6 (10), 6-1 in the semifinals Friday.

He has proved that he is a major threat to Nadal in best-of-three-set matches on clay, beating him three times, most recently in straight sets in the quarter-finals of the Masters 1000 event in Madrid this year. Even though Nadal hasn't been playing his best all tournament he's still getting through; I expect it to be no different against Del Potro. I don't want anyone to think that it's a routine.

-When you buy Tennis Channel Plus, your 12-month subscription gets you access to every ATP Masters 1000 tournament played outside the USA, and every round through the finals of WTA Indian Wells, Miami and Cincinnati. Thiem got to 10-all with a drop shot of his own.

After failing to convert four of his previous set point opportunities, he finally seized the fifth.

Any discussion about Cecchinato's match-fixing scandal should start with an acknolwedgement of his ultimate acquittal, but the circumstantial evidence certianly isn't particularly favorable (read this thread for details).


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