Rafael Nadal takes on Diego Schwartzman in the semi-finals, just one win away from a thirteenth French Open final. There had been questions over the Spaniard’s ability to compete in the colder and wetter conditions in September/October but he looks in fine form. The winner will play either Novak Djokovic or Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final.
Watch the Nadal vs Schwartzman Live Stream Here.
Schwartzman is in a slam semi final for the first time and it is well deserved for a player who is up there as one of the best of the rest – especially on clay. He showed his mettle in Rome, making the final with a win over Nadal along the way. He secured his most impressive slam win to date, defeating two-time finalist Dominic Thiem in straight sets. He came from 1-2 down in sets, outlasting the Austrian for an eventual 7-6 5-7 6-7 7-6 6-2 win. “I had a lot of opportunities — easy, tough ones, hard [ones]. Every single opportunity was different. I didn’t take them… I played an amazing tie-break in the fourth. In the fifth, I keep doing the same thing, being solid. At the end, I think [I] physically finished better than him.”
Nadal had his toughest test yet again Jannik Sinner but it ended in straights, the same way as all of his other matches this tournament. He came from a break down in the opening set of the 7-6 6-4 6-1 win, with class eventually telling as the match wore on. “For two sets it was tough, especially at the end of that first set. I was lucky to be back from 5-6, having to break him back. The conditions here were a little bit difficult because he was hitting every ball very hard,” Nadal said. “For me it was difficult to pull him out of position. I think in the third set I did much better and I finished playing much more aggressive. That was the only way.”
Nadal on clay in five sets still remains near unbeatable with only astonishing displays from Novak Djokovic (2015) and Robin Soderling (2009) being enough to deny him the title in his visits to Paris. Schwartzman may have caught Nadal cold in Rome but it has otherwise been a bad matchup for him in the past. He should extend the head to head to 10-1 but should face his toughest test at least in this one.
Prediction – Rafael Nadal in four sets