Rafael Nadal quashed a spirited challenge from Diego Scwhartzman 6-3, 6-3, 7-6 (0) on Friday evening to move into his 13th French Open final.
Gaining revenge for his Rome quarterfinal loss to the Argentine, Nadal landed 38 winners and converted six of nine break points to reach his fourth final in a row(2017-20).
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“It was very difficult,” said the 34-year-old Nadal. “I’d like to thank the crowd for their support. It’s incredible to be in another Roland Garros final. It’s always a special moment.”
“I know when I play Diego it’s difficult to the very end,” said the Spaniard, who took three hours nine minutes to beat 12th seed Schwartzman.
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“A few weeks ago, I lost to him in Rome and I’m happy to be improving each day. I didn’t play my best in Rome, but he always plays his best and he had a fantastic win against Dominic (Thiem) a few days ago.”
The ultimate respect 👏@dieschwartzman @RafaelNadal #RolandGarros pic.twitter.com/PZmHyEYDeT
— Roland-Garros (@rolandgarros) October 9, 2020
Going into the match, the 5’7 Schwartzman held a losing 1-9 record against Nadal. Though he knew the heft of the task ahead of him, the Argentine battled bravely.
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The first game of the match, with Nadal serving, set the tone of the match as it extended to 14 minutes before the Spaniard came through.
That was pretty much the story of the match, with the diminutive Diego scampering around the court trying to retrieve ever ball, usually hit with vicious spin and bouncing almost head high. The Argentine made Nadal earn every point, but on crucial occasions fell just short.
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Schwartzman clawed back from a 4-2 deficit in the third set and pushed it into a tie-breaker, but three loose shots in the beginning gave Nadal the advantage. And the Spaniard, the most dominant player ever on clay, ran away with it.
Twelve-time champion Nadal, who extended his record to 99-2 at the clay-court major, has progressed to the final without dropping a set.
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The Spaniard will attempt to become the first player to win 100 matches at Roland Garros when he faces either Novak Djokovic or Stefanos Tsitsipas for the trophy on Sunday.