Once Nadal stole the opener with a break in the 10th game it was one-way traffic as he left Del Potro trailing in a cloud of Parisian clay dust to set up a final against Dominic Thiem.
But Nadal remains a near-unmovable force at Roland Garros and it's hard to look past him claiming title No. 11.
Across the last 12 months on clay, Nadal has held serve 88.7% to Thiem's 85.7% (3.0% edge) while breaking opponents 50.0% to 30.1% (19.9% edge), and this incredible advantage he has on return was a big factor in me pricing Nadal as a [1.17] favourite to lift the trophy today.
"I have to play that way like I did in Rome and in Madrid", Thiem said. "But for me, I believe that there are limited chances in your career".
The 16-time Grand Slam champion has won the tournament 10 times. So when I had the chances, I just tried to convert.
Nadal crushed del Potro's spirit with the intensity of his tennis in the second set, bounding 5-0 ahead before the Argentine registered a game to lift the spirits of his fans. This tournament is logically a bit different because it is played by winning three sets and then the better player nearly always wins.
"What will be important will be to try and make him play in uncomfortable situations", said Moya, the 1998 French Open champion.
Thiem will start as the underdog in his first major final, but the 24-year-old has beaten his 32-year-old opponent on clay.More news: Drug offender released after Kim Kardashian West's plea to Donald Trump
It is the second straight all-American girls' final at Roland Garros, after Whitney Osuigwe beat Claire Liu a year ago.
There have, however, appeared to be one or two chinks in Nadal's armour at Roland Garros this year.
"The big key was the second set, it was a close tiebreak and if I lost it, I didn't want that because it would be a tough match", said Thiem.
'Good thing is I played a lot of good matches this clay court season. Del Potro has achieved great victories this year.
In 51 matches across 2017 and 2018 on the dirt, Nadal has lost twice.
Nadal has won every final he has contested at Roland-Garros, so it looks like there will only be one outcome when the pair meet on Sunday. If it's soggy and the court slows down, that will blunt some of Nadal's power and not allow his forehand to get as high on Thiem's one-hand backhand. Cecchinato was accused of match-fixing and suspended for 18 months in 2016, but he appealed, and his punishment was dropped on a technicality.
This historical analysis doesn't lend itself to fancying Thiem's chances of denying Nadal an 11th French Open title this afternoon, and neither did my model pricing either.
Thiem battled to a 7-5 7-6 and then walloped a clearly dejected Cecchinato 6-1 in the third to qualify for the final after making the semi-final on three consecutive occasions.
Cecchinato's catalogue of drop shots which helped account for Novak Djokovic kept Thiem on his toes throughout, but once the pivotal tie-break went the seventh seed's way Cecchinato's unlikely run was all but over.