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"It doesn't matter what sport. He's not going to give you a free point if he's up 5-love or down love-5", Bresnik said. Injuries have hampered the King of Clay throughout the past year.

He didn't stop there, such was his extended praise for the recently turned 32-year-old.

Nadal won the pair's only previous two meetings at the French Open, including their semi-final clash past year, but Thiem is confident he can upset the world number one on Sunday. That would move him to within three of the all-time mark of 20 held by Roger Federer.

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. And for good reason.

Nadal, who already has more titles at a single Grand Slam than any men's player in history with his 10 French Open wins, can collect his 17th career major with a win Sunday. He appears poised to take home a title-win at the French Open at some point and this year could be it. "Today was unbelievable for me, with all of Philippe-Chatrier Court full".

"I was a bit lucky", said Nadal, who is 10-0 in French Open semifinals and 10-0 in finals at the tournament. In 2016, Nadal won two straight-set matches, then withdrew before the third round because of an injured left wrist.

"But I have a plan".

One big difference in this meeting is that those two matches that went Thiem's way were best-of-three-set events.

Converting break points has become close to impossible against Nadal on the red clay of Paris.

"He's one of the best players in the world on this surface", Nadal told reporters. "But at the same time, I think after the first rain delay, the match changed a lot because I played more aggressive with high intensity and the things were more on my side". "He has the power".

Del Potro is going to his second French Open semifinal and his first since 2009.

"Yeah, if I won the second set, I think is totally different the third set", he said. Or at least not a blowout. Although it will be a hard task for del Potro, he's enjoying the moment.

In the other remaining quarterfinal, which will continue Thursday at Court Suzanne Lenglen, No. 3 Marin Cilic and No. 5 Juan Martin del Potro were at 5-all in a first-set tie-breaker when the play-ending shower came.

Nadal's defense is superb, with his range of backhand shots ideal for taking the edge off an opponents' return game. Coincidentally, the only time he has looked in any danger was on day 11 when Diego Schwartzman, the 11th seed, took the only set of the tournament off him.

Del Potro struck 31 winners and 19 aces, compared to Cilic's 53 and 18, respectively. 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.