Paris - Rafael Nadal insisted he still "feels pressure" and is "only human", after battling back from a set down to beat Diego Schwartzman on Thursday and set up a French Open semi-final clash with Juan Martin del Potro. "[Del Potro plays an] aggressive game from the end of the court, the baseline".
Del Potro has served 53 aces to reach the semi-final and his forehand, a stroke that could chop down trees, worries the very best as he showed by beating Roger Federer at last year's U.S. Open and winning the Indian Wells title in March. I am so proud to be playing tennis.
This would be the fifth time that Nadal and del Potro will meet at a Grand Slam event, with Nadal holding a 3-1 edge. I thought he played great in Madrid, was a little unlucky in Rome [losing Italy's Fabio Fognini at the first hurdle], but he's ready to make that next step and make his first Grand Slam final.
"Everybody knows that I was close to quit this sport two years ago, but then I, for one reason, I never give up".
"It has been a long time without a good feeling in my body".
With his good run at Roland Garros, Del Potro is now guaranteed to return to the top four in the rankings for the first time in more than four years. After that, Simona Halep plays Garbine Muguruza: the victor will be world No. 1.
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"Traditionally, Del Potro is a slow starter and it's very hard to play catch-up against Rafa". Schwartzman took the opener 6-4, ending Nadal's streak of winning 37 consecutive completed sets at the clay-court major.
Schwartzman failed to consolidate the break again, but was undeterred as a ferocious forehand victor put him 5-4 up, and another fizzed forehand victor ended Nadal's long run of sets won in a row in Paris after a stoppage when a spectator collapsed.
He eventually lost the set and found himself trailing 3-1 in the third set before turning things around, with Cilic largely undone by his 74 unforced errors.
"I played again one of my best matches on clay", Halep said after coming back from a break down in the second set. The matchup was the first All-American semifinal match at Roland Garros since 2002.
Pavic and Dabrowski were the top seed in Paris, while Chan and Dodig were seeded second.
Dabrowski teamed with India's Rohan Bopanna to win last year's French Open mixed-doubles title and with Pavic to win the Australian Open mixed title earlier this year.