After regaining the Roland Garros crown in 2017, Rafael Nadal was the favorite at his beloved Major again in 2018. The ten-time champion advanced into the semi-final following a hard-fought 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 victory over the 11th seed Diego Schwartzman.
They needed two days to complete the battle, with Nadal serving for the second set when the rain spoiled the party. In the end, the Spaniard played on a higher level when they returned on the next day and earned the triumph in three hours and 42 minutes.
For the first time since 2015, Nadal lost the opening set at Roland Garros, but he remained calm and toppled the rival from set number three to reach the last four. Thus, Rafa advanced into his 27th Major semi-final, leaving Andre Agassi on 26 and trailing one behind Ivan Lendl.
Nadal earned the 28th victory from 30 matches in 2018 and his 84th triumph in Paris from 86 encounters.
Rafael Nadal defeated Diego Schwartzman in the 2018 Roland Garros SF.
Schwartzman did his best to stay in touch with his mighty opponent, trying to impose his shots and keep Rafa under pressure.
The Argentine hit 37 winners but made too many errors, almost 20 more than Nadal. Diego won 42% of the return points, and Rafa grabbed even more in the rival's service games to deliver nine breaks of serve. Schwartzman had 20 break chances, nine in the opening set alone, and he converted five of those in sets one and two to make Nadal run for his money.
After trading four breaks in a row in the middle of the second set, Nadal shifted into a higher gear and led 5-3, 30-15 before the rain ruined the action. As was expected from a great champion, Nadal started all over on the following day.
He took the second set and broke Diego in games one and five to move 5-1 ahead in set number three. Rafa served well and controlled the pace with strong and deep shots from both wings that left the Argentinian with no answer.
Serving for the set at 5-2, Rafa fended off four break points and converted the second set point for 6-2 and another big step towards the last four. Schwartzman had no clue how to stop Nadal's avalanche, and he struggled to keep the rival's pace in set number four.
Rafa broke him in games three and five and earned a match point on the return at 5-1. Diego saved it and denied two more match points in the next game. Eager to seal the deal in that game, Rafa fended off three break chances and seized the fourth match point with a forehand winner to book a place in the last four.