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Sport Tennis Roland Garros 2018 Rafael Nadal

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Schwartzman makes Nadal sweat for place in French Open semi-final

Rafael Nadal reached the French Open semi-final for an 11th time. Reuters/Charles Platiau

Top seed Rafael Nadal on Thursday completed his comeback to reach the French Open semi-final at the expense of the 11th seed Diego Schwartzman.

The Argentine created a shock on Wednesday when he became the first man for three years to win a set off Nadal at the French Open. There was further concern for Nadal’s legions of fans when the 25-year-old went a break up in the second set to lead 3-2.

But rain interrupted Schwartzman's march. The players went off for 45 minutes due to persistent showers and when they returned, Nadal played more aggressively to win three successive games.

The pair were forced to leave for a second time with Nadal leading 5-3 and serving at 30-15 up.

When they resumed on Thursday, Nadal wrapped up the set and proceeded to impose his own will on the encounter.

“Diego was playing great and I was playing too defensively,” said Nadal. “I felt that he was able to take control of the point too many times. But I continued the level of intensity that I played after the first stop. And in my opinion, the match changed because I played more aggressive with high intensity.”

Nadal coasted through the third 6-2 and wrapped up the fourth by the same score to advance to his 11th French Open semi-final, a Grand Slam feat equalling Jimmy Connors at the US Open and Roger Federer at Wimbledon and the Australian Open.

"I wasn’t opening the court with the backhand,” said Nadal about his early difficulties. “I was playing too far behind the baseline. He was taking the ball earlier than me and he had the control of the point too many times.

"After I increased the intensity, I won a little bit of court playing closer to the baseline so the match change drastically.”

Nadal will play the fifth seed Juan Martin Del Potro, conqueror of third seed Marin Cilic in four sets, for a place in his 11th French Open final.