French Open: Rafael Nadal holds off challenge of Jannik Sinner in 100th career Roland Garros match
Photo: Shaun Botterill

Second seed Rafael Nadal has reached his 13th semifinal at the French Open with a 7-6 (4), 6-4, 6-1 victory over Jannik Sinner in the quarterfinals on Court Philippe Chatrier.

Sinner served for the first set at 6-5 only to watch Nadal break back and claim the ensuing tiebreaker. The Italian led by a break in the second set and again the Spaniard rallied, winning five of the last six games before running away with the third set.

Nadal pulls away from Sinner after close two sets to reach last four

It was important for Sinner to get off to a good start and a backhand winner that just clipped the baseline sealed a love hold to make it 1-1. The Italian pressured Nadal on his serve, getting to deuce in the third game and holding a break point in the fifth game, but the Spaniard hung on.

At 5-5, Sinner watched as Nadal missed on a forehand wide to give the 19-year old an opportunity to serve out the set, but the 12-time champion hit back, breaking to force a tiebreaker which he led 5-2 and wrapped up after the Italian was errant on his own forehand.

Nadal improves to an astounding 98-2 at Roland Garros/Photo: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
Nadal improves to an astounding 98-2 at Roland Garros/Photo: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Breaks were exchanged midway through the second set with Sinner emerging with a 3-2 lead. It was the Italian who was now having to fight off Nadal on his serve, escaping from deuce in the seventh game, but he wasn't as fortunate next time around.

On break point, Sinner saw another forehand go awry to give Nadal a 5-4 lead and, serving for the set, he wasted a chance to close it out, but a volley winner gave him a second chance and he duly took it when the 19-year old missed with his forehand yet again to grab a two-set advantage.

The outcome of the match was clear at this point and the third set was a mere formality as Nadal jumped out to a double break lead at 4-0. Sinner got on the board with a hold, but it was too little, too late and Nadal wrapped up the match with an overhead winner to continue his dominance in Paris. 

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