Rafael Nadal continues pursuit of 13th French Open title by seeing off teenage star Jannik Sinner in straight sets to book semi-final with Diego Schwartzman
- Rafael Nadal once again navigated his way to the semi-finals of the French Open
- The Spaniard is going for his 13th title at Roland Garros and looks in fine form
- He took on rising star Jannik Sinner who impressed despite losing 7-6, 6-4, 6-1
- Nadal now faces Argentine pocket-rocket Diego Schwartzman in the last-four
Rafael Nadal was given a look at the future of the French Open early on Wednesday morning when pushed well out of his comfort zone by Italian teenager Jannik Sinner.
In what was the latest finish in the tournaments history he came through 7-6, 6-4, 6-1 to make yet another semi- final.
By doing so he had to survive a huge onslaught against his forehand in chilly conditions, with the impressive Sinner serving for the first set and going a break ahead in the second, only to become less assured on both occasions.
Rafael Nadal was made to work for a spot in the semi-finals as he overcame Jannik Sinner
Nadal came up against one of the game’s rising stars and he was not afraid of the Spaniard
Sinner gave a solid account of his game despite going down in straight sets on Tuesday night
Nadal will meet Diego Schwartzman, who knocked out US Open champion Dominic Thiem in an epic five hours and eight minute encounter.
The interesting sub-plot to that semi-final is that Schwarrtzman actually defeated Nadal in Rome last month and so the French Open icon will be keen to exact revenge this time round.
The 34-year-old Nadal’s 97 previous victories at Roland Garros made the difference in the key moments of this one with the Spaniard rallying from a break down in the first two sets to win both.
Sinner, the first French Open debutant to reach the last eight since Nadal in 2005, confirmed his immense potential but lacked just a bit of composure when it mattered most.
Sinner edged ahead in the opening two sets but lacked experience when it mattered most
‘He was hitting every ball very hard and for me it was difficult,’ Nadal said in victory.
‘The ball, as you know very well with this cold, the spin is not there, so 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.’
Schwartzman is all that stands between Nadal and a place in yet another French Open final.
On the other side of the draw stands Novak Djokovic, Pablo Carreno Busta, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev. Those four will play out their quarter-finals later on Wednesday.
Nadal’s previous 97 wins at Roland Garros were telling as he stole the key points in the match
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