He'll look for an 11th victory in the final against Dominic Thiem at 9 a.m. Sunday on Court Philippe-Chatrier in Paris.
Thiem beat Marco Cecchinato 7-5, 7-6, 6-1 in his semifinal matchup.
"But for me, at every tournament I believe that there are chances, limited chances in your career. I was 11 years old, watching in the TV and honestly never expected that one day I'd play the finals here".
"Today I played more aggressive".
Cecchinato had never won a Grand Slam match before this year's Roland Garros but made the semis with a string of stunning wins.
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"The only way to beat Rafa on clay is to take risks... to over-achieve you have to over-play and risk more than you feel comfortable doing", Wilander said.
Nadal raced away with 14 of the last 17 games. That's why he's the No. 1 and beating all the guys.
"He looks fresh. He is healthy". Equipped with booming serves and one of the strongest forehands in tennis, the 29-year-old will be hoping to keep the rallies short and pull off one of the biggest upsets at Roland Garros.
Del Potro will be his opponent on Friday after eliminating No. 3 seed Marin Cilic 7-6 (5), 5-7, 6-3, 7-5 to make into the semifinals for the first time since 2009.
Breaking serve in the first game and bouncing to a 4-2 lead, Thiem controlled proceedings before Cecchinato reeled off the next three games with trademark flair and adventure.
It took Nadal just two quickfire points to wrap up the set and leave the two players with effectively a best-of-three set match to play on Thursday.
Thiem is responsible for both of those losses - at Rome in May 2017, and at Madrid last month - which at least lends a little intrigue to Sunday's proceedings.
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Nadal won the first two points of the eighth game and reached the second match point at 40-30.
"The second set tie-break was the big key to the match, 100 per cent, because obviously he felt all the matches from the past two weeks after that", said Thiem, according to ATP's website.
"I know I have to play my best, I have to improve a little bit".
"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. He likes the conditions more here than in Madrid, for sure.
Nadal is now 110-2 in best-of-five-set matches on the surface, 85-2 in Paris.
"But I have a plan".
Both teams are through to the final at Roland Garros for the first time after securing uspet wins on Court Suzanne Lenglen.
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He's ninth in the points standings this year, and although he's still winless, he has to be considered a threat Sunday. Also collecting stage points were Brad Keselowski , Kurt Busch , William Byron, Joey Logano and Aric Almirola.
His ideal sliding and fine single-handed backhand make him a fearsome player on clay and Cecchinato believes he has what it takes to continue his climb up the rankings. "It has to be a player that plays extremely well", said the Swede.