Paris: Rafael Nadal lost his first set at the French Open since 2015, but that blip did not prevent the 10-time champion from marching into the semi-finals with a 4-6 6-3 6-2 6-2 victory over Diego Schwartzman in their rain-delayed match on Thursday.
Nadal had just 32 unforced errors in the final three sets of the match, and although Schwartzman played well, he just couldn't recapture the lightning of his 20 winners in the first set alone, picking up 17 for the rest of the match.
The fifth-seeded Del Potro, whose career has been hampered by injuries, beat third-seeded Marin Cilic 7-6 (5), 5-7, 6-3, 7-5 Thursday.
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Stephens broke Keys to begin the second set and once again established a 3-1 lead. And I have to play aggressively. Del Potro can hurt him with his serve and with his forehand, but he can't hurt him with his backhand, and I think that's really crucial if you are looking to beat him on clay.
The 37-set run was Nadal's longest at the French Open, where the record of 41 was established by Bjorn Borg from 1978-81.
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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.
Hard to believe now, but it wasn't long ago Juan Martin del Potro wanted to walk away from tennis.
On the role of his team during a testing time, he added: 'It was very important for me to have their support and my family as well, my friends. I have had three surgeries on my left wrist and I was close to quitting. Their match was also initially suspended by rain headed for a tiebreaker at 6-6 in the first set. After that, Simona Halep plays Garbine Muguruza: the victor will be world No. 1. Muguruza had her serve broken six times by Halep, who was, frankly, better throughout the match.
Dabrowski, a 26-year-old from Ottawa, and Pavic dropped the first set against Taiwan's Latisha Chan and Croatia's Ivan Dodig 6-1 but came back to win the second 7-6 (5).
Pavic and Dabrowski were the top seed in Paris, while Chan and Dodig were seeded second.