World No.3 Rafael Nadal progressed to his 14th semifinal appearance at Roland Garros after overcoming the challenge of Diego Schwartzman in four entertaining sets yesterday. The 13-time winner in Paris will now take on World No.1 Novak Djokovic in the semis on Friday.
Nadal came into the match with a 10-1 win/loss record against Schwartzman and once again proved his supremacy on the clay over the Argentine. Although the King of Clay lost the second set, he managed to get his act together in the third set and won nine consecutive games, including 20 of 21 service points in a row to stamp his authority.
Speaking after the match, Schwartzman explained the difficultly and frustration of facing the Spaniard on the red clay of Paris. “For anybody it’s very difficult to play against him. He’s feeling very comfortable on court. Everything is so nice for him on court. It’s very difficult to be close to the baseline sometimes, and he likes that. He feel like he’s doing everything to put you two, three metres behind the line. The court is really big and you start to play difficult games and difficult matches against him,” the World No.10 mentioned at the press conference.
Schwartzman wants to avoid Nadal in Paris
Upon quizzed on the void that the ATP tour would experience after Nadal’s retirement, Schwartzman said, “No, no. It is going to be sad for everyone. I don’t want to be on the same side of the draw next time. I think I’m a very good player on clay. I did great tournaments here in Paris, but [I am] always losing against Rafa the past few years,” Schwartzman said, cracking a laugh. “In a semi-final, two times [the] quarters. I want to play maybe Nole [Novak Djokovic] next time, but not Rafa.”
The 35-year-old is now 105-2 at Roland Garros and has never lost the semifinals at Paris in 13 outings till now. Moreover, he also beat Djokovic in their famous semifinal match in 2013, where the Serb had a 2-0 lead in the final set. Although it must be said, that the 18-time Grand Slam champion did beat Nadal in the quarterfinals of 2015.
If Nadal is able to win the French Open for the 14th time on Sunday, then he will also be the only male player in the Open Era with maximum Grand Slam titles.