French Open 2018: Rafael Nadal beats Digeo Schwartzman to reach semis

Tanya Simon
June 12, 2018

There will be much to ponder though for Nadal and coach Carlos Moya as Schwartzman still looked capable of registering a first win against Nadal at the sixth attempt.

Spaniard Nadal eventually claimed the set with a late break of his own before going on to dominate the rest of the contest, his 6-4 6-1 6-2 victory setting up a showdown with Dominic Thiem for the title on Sunday.

Sloane Stephens has advanced to the French Open final for the first time, beating Madison Keys 6-4, 6-4 in an all-American semifinal on Court Philippe Chatrier.

A fourth set point for Thiem was erased with - what else? - a drop shot by Cecchinato.

The world number one, bidding for a record-extending 11th title, clinched the second set soon after the restart.

He fired long on a first set point, Nadal saved the second with a jaw-dropping drop shot but on the third, just after the match was interrupted for a few minutes while an unwell spectator was evacuated, Schwartzman unleashed a stunning forehand victor down the line - his 20th victor.

Rafael Nadal is into the French Open semifinals for the 11th time.

There was a sense of inevitability in the air when Del Potro served at 4-5 and sure enough Nadal turned the screws to grab two set points at 15-40. However, Thiem did beat Nadal on the clay of Madrid last month. Thiem withstood a barrage of break points to hold in a marathon sixth game, which he thought he had won at 40-30 when he left a wide ball, only for the umpire to overrule the line judge.

However, he has fought back and reached his first semi-final at Roland Garros since 2009.

Thiem was ruthless in his semi-final victory at the French Open.

Nadal is only the second man after Roger Federer to reach 11 finals at the same Grand Slam.

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"He is a nightmare opponent for Nadal", Wilander said about Del Potro, as quoted on Tennis World USA.

However, Nadal has won both their clashes at Roland Garros - in 2014 and in last year's semi-finals by a comfortable 6-3, 6-4, 6-0 margin.

The pivotal part of the match was the second-set tiebreaker. "Facing Rafa, I'm not the one who has the pressure".

Nadal has already established himself as one of the five greatest men's tennis players in history.

Robin Soderling, who famously inflicted Nadal's first defeat at the French Open in 2009, insists Thiem has to take the initiative from the start. At No. 72, he is the lowest-ranked French Open semifinalist since 1999.

Nadal saved another three break points before holding with a sublime victor, then unleashed a couple of magnificent shots and Del Potro netted a backhand to lose a set which he had the better of.

The 21-year-old Nadal became the first man since Bjorn Borg in 1980 to win three successive titles at Roland Garros.

Garbine Muguruza overwhelmed Maria Sharapova 6-2, 6-1 in a matchup of past French Open champions to reach the semifinals. But del Potro grabbed the first two points played on Thursday to take that set 7-6 (5).

The 10-time champion needed a downpour on Wednesday evening to rescue him from a deluge of break points, five of which were converted by tricky Argentinian Diego Schwartzman.

When Schwartzman broke in the third game of the second set, the alarm bells were ringing in the Nadal camp and although he quickly levelled he was immediately broken again. Nadal has never been as vulnerable in a Roland Garrros final as he will be on Sunday.

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