Del Potro powers past Cilic to set up Rafa clash

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Injuries have hampered the King of Clay throughout the past year.

The victory also allowed the 32-year-old Nadal to hold onto the No. 1 ranking, ahead of Federer.

Seventh seed Thiem is the only player to have beaten Nadal on clay in the past two years, and he claimed he had a plan to thwart the Spaniard in Paris.

Rafael Nadal has defeated Dominic Thiem 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 to win a record-extending 11th title at the French Open.

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. And for good reason.

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On Sunday, Nadal will face No 7 seed Dominic Thiem, a 24-year-old Austrian who reached his first Grand Slam final by ending the surprising run of 72nd-ranked Marco Cecchinato of Italy 7-5, 7-6 (10), 6-1.

Nevertheless, Cecchinato can look back on a breakthrough tournament - he had never won a match at a grand slam before beating Marius Copil 10-8 in the fifth set last week. "I was able to stop, to think, to calm down and to see things with a bit more clarity", Nadal told a media conference.

"The first matches I played against the top five players, I said it's always a match I can win". After the rain interruption, Nadal leveled and was leading 5-3 and serving at 30-30 when play was suspended for the day. I know I have to play my best tennis to have a chance on Sunday.

Converting break points has become close to impossible against Nadal on the red clay of Paris. He was not playing his best tennis. "Del Potro hasn't played Nadal enough on clay to feel the scar tissue, to feel the damage that Nadal has done on so many players so therefore I understand why Juan Martin would choose to not risk it and play safe", he explained. "He has the power". Nadal had more trouble with another Argentine, the diminutive Diego Schwartzman, in the quarterfinals. He won three consecutive sets to advance to the semifinals, and he did so emphatically. Or at least not a blowout. "I am doing well", he said after edging out third seed Cilic 7-6 (7/5), 5-7, 6-3, 7-5. He has undergone four wrist surgeries but the issue, thankfully, was a minor hip complaint.

The Spaniard will resume the challenge with the opportunity to serve, but now that the pace has been broken, Nadal will have a slight psychological advantage. "The match changed a lot", he said.

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The Romanian broke at the start of the second set and then held for 6-3 as Kerber dropped her serve again in the ninth game.

And on the penultimate point of the semifinal, after being run ragged, the 2009 US Open victor could only offer up a smile.

Caty McNally and Cori Gauff will meet in an all-American girls' final at the French Open after winning their semifinals. The Argentinian said that the story of David and Goliath inspired him in a remarkable comeback from two sets down against Kevin Anderson, who is 13 inches taller than him, in the last 16.

The key moment, though, was the gripping second-set tiebreak.

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