Playing his 107th Roland Garros match, Rafael Nadal scored the 105th victory and advanced into the 14th semi-final thanks to a 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-0 win over Diego Schwartzman in two hours and 45 minutes. After 36 consecutive sets won at Roland Garros, Nadal suffered a slight setback before regaining confidence with a late break in the third set that broke Schwartzman's resistance and secured nine straight games for the Spaniard!
Diego was the better player in the second set and the opening eight games of the third, playing aggressive tennis and standing as the dominant figure on the court. In the end, Nadal grabbed seven breaks and fired 35 winners and 29 unforced errors to secure the 35th consecutive victory at his beloved Major.
Rafa said that Diego forced him to play more aggressively from the third set, facing a formidable rival and delivering his best tennis when it mattered the most to find himself in the semis. Schwartzman gave his best until 4-3 in the third set, losing ground after that and taking only five points in the remaining nine games to hit the exit door and experience the 11th loss in 12 matches against Rafa.
Rafael Nadal defeated Diego Schwartzman in four sets at Roland Garros.
"I served at 3-4 in the third set, with pressure on my back. I was determined to play a good game, and it went great for me. I increased my level when I needed that the most.
From that moment until the end, I produced an excellent level of tennis, perhaps the highest of the entire tournament. I stayed calm and played like on the practice court, restoring the order after struggling to follow Diego's aggressive pace in set number two.
My balls were short and lacked depth in those moments; I had to change that, and I started to move forward and attack as I was forced to. Regardless of my past results at Roland Garros, I'm not confident if I don't play well.
Of course, there are places where you feel like playing well more often than in others. I faced a tricky situation in the third set, and I calmed down and did the right things. I would have preferred to face Novak in the final, mainly because you are already in the title match.
In the semis, you have one more encounter after that en route to the title. Even if you win the semis, you still have to produce another triumph to get the trophy. Novak is a formidable opponent, and if you beat him, you have to face another rival from the top.
Novak and I know each other well. In this type of match, anything can happen. Whoever brings the better tennis will have bigger chances to win. It's a crucial encounter for both of us, and the most significant difference is that it's only the semis; the winner still has a lot to do after that.
My numbers here in Paris are staggering, but I can't think about them right now. It's time to be happy today, as I beat a tough rival and played my best tennis in crucial moments; that gives me confidence," Rafael Nadal said.