Roland Garros day 11 recap: will the rain save Rafael Nadal?

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Roland Garros day 11 recap: will the rain save Rafael Nadal?

So if anyone could head into the French Open final with even the slightest reason to think there's a chance of preventing Nadal from winning a record-extending 11th championship at Roland Garros, it is his opponent Sunday.

Nadal is only the third male player in the Open era to reach 11 semifinals at a single Grand Slam, alongside Roger Federer and Jimmy Connors.

But while the Swiss has succumbed in three title matches in southwest London, Nadal has never tasted defeat in a final in southwest Paris, as Bresnik - and the rest of the tennis world - knows.

The 16-time Grand Slam champion was pushed for three hours and 42 minutes by 11th seed Schwartzman, but will face Del Potro for a place in the final after the fifth seed downed Marin Cilic 7-6 (7/5), 5-7, 6-3, 7-5.

Schwartzman believed his opportunity to pull off the shock of the tournament went with the Wednesday weather, saying: "It's always tough against Rafa". Nadal claimed the final two points of that game in contrasting fashion, ripping a cross-court backhand that left the crowd gasping and deftly hitting a volley off a tricky net cord.

Nadal‚ a 16-time Grand Slam champion‚ claimed his 85th win in Paris against just two losses after weathering a big-hitting opening from 2009 US Open victor Del Potro to win 6-4‚ 6-1‚ 6-2.

- "He is fresh, healthy".

Nadal has an 84-2 win-loss record at Roland Garros.

"The first set was very hard, there were lots of opportunities for Juan Martin del Potro and I was perhaps a little lucky to win it", Nadal said afterwards.

Sharapova beat the Spaniard in three sets at the tournament in 2014.

The rain came again to end play for the day with Nadal 5-3 up, and he levelled the match on Thursday as he surged to a 4-6 6-3 6-2 6-2 triumph.

At least Thiem has in the past found the key to unravelling the Nadal clay court enigma.

"Thiem beat me in Madrid this year and played with big power".

But that was only after Nadal had allowed him just two games in a last-eight mauling in Monte Carlo.

While Nadal is used to the pressure, Thiem will be playing in his first Grand Slam showpiece.

The tournament is unlikely to make up much ground on its rival Slams in the coming years as its organisers, the French Tennis Federation (FFT), focus on financing a modernisation project which includes a new centre court with a retractable roof. Best of five is also a different story. "I have a plan".

Nadal and Thiem have met nine times - all of them on clay.

Schwartzman would fade after a night-long rain delay, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2. "I missed a lot at the beginning of the match".

The third quickly disappeared as well and Cecchinato had set points of his own, but Thiem finally put the Italian away before going on to win 7-5 7-6 (12/10) 6-1.

Nadal was far from his usual impeccable self on red clay, too. When he first halted play, Nadal removed that tape, which he said let his circulation improve.

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