Nadal one win away from equalling tennis history


Rafael Nadal is just one win away from all kinds of history after moving into the men’s French Open final with a 6-3, 6-3, 7-6 (7-0) semi-final victory over Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman.

The Spaniard now awaits either world number one Novak Djokovic or rising Greek star Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final.

In that match the Spanish world number two will be chasing a record-equalling 20th grand slam singles title, as he seeks to tie longtime rival Roger Federer.

Should Nadal win it will also mark his 100th career victory at Roland Garros and a 13th title at the claycourt grand slam — seven more than Swedish great Bjorn Borg, who retired after lifting the Coupe des Mousquetaires six times in his career.

In 12 appearances in the final, Nadal has never been beaten and never been extended beyond four sets.

Nadal, who lost to Schwartzman just a fortnight ago in Rome, reversed that result with ease as he completed his march to the final without dropping a set.

The Spaniard partially credited world number 14 Schwartzman for helping him to perform at a higher level.

“I know against Diego it is very difficult,” Nadal said when asked if the loss in Rome helped him.

“Two weeks ago I lost in Rome but I am happy with the way I have been improving and today was a very positive match for me.

Diego Schwartzman looks down and places his racket and hands on his head.Diego Schwartzman looks down and places his racket and hands on his head.
Diego Schwartzman is just the latest player to be left frustrated by Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros.(AP: Michel Euler)

Schwartzman, playing his first grand slam semi-final, had two break points in the opening game but Nadal saved both to win the game after battling for 14 minutes.

The Spaniard went on to break the Argentine twice in each of the first two sets.

The duo traded service breaks in the third set before Nadal aced the tiebreak without losing a point.

His form throughout the match was sublime as he rattled off 38 winners to Schwartzman’s 24 and converted on six of nine break points.

The performance left Australian doubles great Mark Woodforde, who was on commentary, speechless.

“It really does take my breath away that possibly the greatest of all time … he gets into these moments that you think surely there will be a chink, but he responds so quickly and decisively,” Woodforde said of the performance, especially in the third set tie-break.

“Wow, just wow.”


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