Del Potro gave 11 break point chances in 23 service games (0.48 per game) in this quarter-final, considerably higher than his 0.35 per game figure on clay in 2018.
Both men's matches already had been interrupted by rain once.
In yesterday's delayed matches from Wednesday, Rafa Nadal completed his fightback over Diego Schwartzman, recovering from a set and break down to eventually ease through in four sets, while Marin Cilic succumbed to Juan Martin Del Potro, with the Argentine progressing also via a 3-1 scoreline, albeit in four rather tighter sets. "But now it's time to talk about my present in a good way". Del Potro and Cilic alternated games in the fourth set before del Potro broke his opponent in the 11th game and served out the match.
Now comes what del Potro called "the challenge that every player wants to have" - taking on Nadal at Roland Garros.
He buckled at 5-5, though, and sent a backhand long on break point, leaving Del Potro to serve for the match, which he did easily as Cilic missed with three more backhands.
"Well, it's tough to speak", the 29-year-old, who has risen back to sixth in the rankings after battling back from three left wrist surgeries, said on court as fans sang "Delpo, Delpo".
The injury-plagued former US Open champion Del Potro wept courtside after beating third seed Cilic to reach the last four for the second time, but first in nine years. "If I play defensively and I don't take intensity, I will be lost".
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Del Potro is into the semifinals at Roland Garros for the second time, having lost to Federer on the stage in 2009.
"I'm feeling so, so happy to make the right decision to play here". The two first played each other in an ITF final in Modena, Italy in 2013 with Cecchinato winning.
"So many times, the top players, they win half of the match nearly before the match started because their opponent don't really believe in it", said Soderling, who is coaching now after chronic illness forced him to retire three years ago.
Muguruza will face Simona Halep or Angelique Kerber in the semifinals.
Twice the runner-up in Paris, Halep has qualified for the final by defeating 2016 champion Garbine Muguruza 6-1, 6-4.
After del Potro served out his victory at love to get to his first semi-final at the clay-court Grand Slam tournament since 2009, he sat in his changeover seat, chest heaving. The matchup was the first All-American semifinal match at Roland Garros since 2002.
Muguruza has not dropped a set so far in this year's tournament as she seeks a second championship in Paris and third major trophy overall.