Rafael Nadal has been the dominant figure at Roland Garros since lifting the first title in Paris in 2005. Nadal has lost only three matches at his beloved Major over the years, and he has stayed on the course towards the 14th title following the quarter-final victory over world no.
1 Novak Djokovic. Rafa and Novak battled for four hours and 12 minutes on Court Philippe-Chatrier on Tuesday night, and the Spaniard dethroned the Serb 6-2, 4-6, 6-2, 7-6. Nadal came to Paris with many question marks, struggling with a foot injury and not giving himself too many chances for the trophy.
After barely finishing the match against Denis Shapovalov in Rome, Rafa has played much better at Roland Garros, surviving two marathons within a couple of days and advancing into the semis. Asked about Rafa's physical issues, Novak gave a cold answer and stated nothing was wrong with his opponent.
The Serb reminded that the Spaniard had done the same many times in the past and that he knew that Rafa was at 100%. A year ago, Djokovic had the edge over Rafa in a similar marathon, and the Spaniard took charge this time.
Nadal fired 57 winners and 43 unforced errors and played on a high level behind the second serve to lose serve four times. Nadal grabbed 43% of the return points and turned them into seven breaks from 17 break points. Rafa was off to a flying start, doing everything right and mixing his strokes nicely to build a 6-2, 3-0 advantage.
Novak Djokovic shared thoughts about Rafael Nadal's injury.
Djokovic made a comeback in the rest of the second set, taking six out of seven games to clinch it 6-4 in almost an hour and a half! Rafa restored the order in the third set and claimed it 6-2 with a double break that sent him closer to the finish line.
Novak made one last push and forged a 5-2 advantage in the fourth set with an early break and four comfortable holds. The Serb squandered two set points on serve at 5-3, and the Spaniard climbed back to prolong the set. Nadal had more energy in the closing stages and clinched the tie break 7-4 with a backhand down the line winner to produce a massive comeback and advance into the last four.
"I have not seen any problems with Rafa's physical conditions. I'm not surprised at all how well he was doing after playing five sets in the previous match against Felix. It's not the first time he can come out a few days after being injured and barely walking and be at 100% physically. He has done that many times in his career, so I'm not surprised," Novak Djokovic said.