These two have played 14 times and Nadal has won nine of those meetings. "That's the most important for me".
Del Potro, the US Open victor in 2009, is playing the tournament for only the second time since 2012 after a spate of injuries.
And Nadal knows he will be in for a hard afternoon where defensive play is not an option.
"I came here without big expectations, just seeing how my body feels match by match", said del Potro.
Nadal giving up a 6.5 game head start is [1.74] on the Exchange, and I'd expect this to rise by several ticks as the market forms in the run-up to the match, and I'm quite happy to look at this as a more viable proposition. "If I play defensively and I don't take intensity, I will be lost".
He was inconvenienced by a couple of break points as he served for the third set with 11th seed Schwarztman, a 5ft 7in live wire, refusing to go away quietly. I was able to open the court on his forehand.
Schwartzman compiled a 20-4 edge in winners in that first set, then broke Nadal for the fifth time in eight service games and was ahead 3-2 in the second when a rain delay of just under an hour arrived.
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Argentina´s Juan Martin del Potro (L) celebrates after victory over Croatia´s Marin Cilic at the end of their men´s singles quarter-final match at The Roland Garros 2018 French Open on June 7, 2018. For Nadal, that happened when he was down a break at 3-2 in the second set, and the delay of a little less than an hour seemed to help him begin to change course against Schwartzman, a 5-foot-7 (1.70-meter) Argentine who was putting almost every shot right where he wanted to in the early stages.
Nadal's streak of 37 consecutive set wins at Roland Garros ended Wednesday, but with victory the 32-year-old became only the third player in the Open era (since 1968) to reach 11 semifinals in the same grand slam.
Del Potro claimed the tiebreaker, and though he faltered late in the second set, he regained control of the match with five straight wins to claim the third.
The second set was also dominated by serve until Cilic fired himself up to break at 4-4 - a furious del Potro throwing his racket at the changeover.
Nadal is 10-0 so far in Roland Garros semi-finals and he will try to extend his flawless record today against Juan Martin del Potro, setting his eyes on the 11th Roland Garros final, not losing a single final so far between 2005-2017.
"Everybody knows that I was close to quitting this sport two years ago, but then I, for one reason, I never give up", said Del Potro. "I don't have words to explain what this means to me and my team".
"I played already days in a row here in the past".