French Open 2021: Rafael Nadal survives Diego Schwartzman test, prevails in his 14th semifinal at Paris

Third seed Rafael Nadal got the better of Argentine Diego Schwartzman in the quarterfinals of the 2021 French Open to reach the Last 4 for a record 14th time.

Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal

13-time Champion, Rafael Nadal cruises into yet another semifinal at the French Open, after beating 10th seed Diego Schwartzman in four sets 6-3,4-6,6-4,6-0 in a very tightly fought encounter. With this win, Nadal enters his 14th semifinal at Roland Garros and has gone ahead to become Champion the previous 13 times.

Both the players started the opening set with a lot of intensity. They were going for all out winners and were able to hold serve. But Nadal was the first one to break in the sixth game. A gutsy Schwartzman broke back only to be broken again the very next game. Nadal eventually served out the set 6-3 in 45 minutes.

The second set saw a fired up Schwartzman. The Argentine was serving big and dominating most of the rallies. He broke Nadal upfront and took a 3-0 lead. But Nadal soon matched pace with the Argentine as he broke back and drew level at 3-3. The players held serve and Nadal has to serve to stay in the set at 4-5. It was no stopping the Argentine as he broke Rafa at the right time to take the set 6-4. Nadal dropped a set at Roland Garros for the first time since the 2019 Final.

The third set started where we left the second. Both the players were solid on serve and lit up the Chatrier crowd with long rallies and emphatic winners. Both were disciplined with their serves for the first eighth games. A momentary lapse of concentration saw Nadal breaking Schwartzman in the ninth game and consolidating it to take the third set 6-4 in 44 minutes.

The fourth set had Nadal painted all over it. Schwartzman looked completely off color and couldn’t stay in the points, let alone dominate the rallies like he did in the second and third set. Nadal took total advantage of his opponent’s misery and ran away with the set, breaking Schwartzman thrice. He eventually dropped a 116th bagel of his career to enter the Last 4 at Roland Garros.

“I have always felt support of my family since I was a kid”: Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal

In the on court interview, Nadal was all praises for his opponent, Diego Schwartzman and gave him full credit for taking the second set.

He said: “We know each other well. I started bad in the second set and then I was able to comeback but then in the game of 4-4 returning with the wind helping I think I played a bad game there and I knew I was into a tricky situation. Eventually I lost the set serving. Well done to him, he’s a great player. I needed to play a little bit more aggressive and I think I did later so very happy for that.”

Nadal was then asked about the importance of his family cheering from the box. “I have said this hundreds of times. I have always felt support of my family since I was a kid. In pressure, they were also ready to help me in every single way that I needed. So I can’t thank them enough. My full team- which was almost similar from the beginning, I want to thank them too.”

Nadal will have another tricky semi-final opponent. He will play either Matteo Berrettini or arch rival Novak Djokovic on Friday.

Also read: Swiatek falters! Maria Sakkari snaps Iga Swiatek’s streak to reach her maiden grand slam semifinal