2018 French Open: Nadal comes through Schwartzman test to reach the last four

2018 French Open: Nadal comes through Schwartzman test to reach the last four

The Spaniard had to come back to court on Tuesday after rain stopped play the previous day. Nadal dominated in dry conditions and dropped just four games after the resumption. He will meet either Juan Martin Del Potro or Marin Cilic in the last four.

Joe Nicholson

Rafael Nadal survived a quarter-final scare at the French Open before finally defeating diminutive Argentine Diego Schwartzman over two days.

The match was stopped due to rain on Wednesday night, with Schwartzman leading 6-4 3-5, after conceding an early break in the second set.

However, in contrasting dry conditions, Nadal appeared to be back to his best as he recorded a 4-6 6-3 6-2 6-2 victory on the Philippe Chatrier Court.

The Spaniard is now just two matches away from securing an unprecedented 11th title at Roland Garros, and will face either Juan Martin Del Potro or Marin Cilic in tomorrow's semi-final.




Schwartzman stopped by changing conditions

Schwartzman had taken advantage of the cold and damp conditions on Wednesday, when Nadal's potent ground strokes lacked their usual sting.

For a set and half, the Argentine - who at 5 ft 7 makes up for his lack of high with his impeccable ball striking - bullied the 10-time champion from the back of the court, ripping winners from inside the baseline to earn a 6-4 3-2 lead - with a break of serve.

Yet, Nadal is one of the game's great problem solvers, and after a brief rain delay yesterday evening, the world number one won four games in a row before play was eventually stopped with Schwartzman leading 6-4 3-5. 

When they resumed at mid-day on Thursday, the dynamics of the match were incomparable to the previous day.

Nadal won 12 of the first 13 points following the resumption to close out the second set, before stealing an early break in the third.




Nadal dominates on day two

After a night to reflect, the Spaniard returned to court determined to re-establish himself as the dominant aggressor from the baseline.

His potent forehand continuously pinned Schwartzman back, spitting off the Parisian clay with heavy doses of power, accuracy and top spin.

After conceding his serve again, Schwartzman offered some resistance at 5-2 in the third set.

Nadal was forced to produce his best tennis in a lengthy 10-minute game of the highest quality, when Schwartzman displayed flashes of the form which saw him brilliantly take the opening set. 

However, with renewed confidence, the Spaniard saved break point with a delicate drop shot before finally sealing a two-sets-to-one lead.

After holding serve in the opening game of the fourth set, Schwartzman saw another break point chance come and go in the following game, before Nadal raced away into the distance.

The Spaniard did have some trouble closing out the match at 5-2, when the Argentine saved three break points with some gutsy and aggressive tennis.

However, it was too little too late, as Nadal booked his place in the last four after a three hours and 42 minutes contest.




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