Nadal overcomes Schwartzman threat to advance to semifinals
Rafa Nadal dropped a set at Roland Garros for the first time in two years but roared back to beat 10th seed Diego Schwartzman 6-3 4-6 6-4 6-0 on Wednesday and storm into the French Open semifinals.
Schwartzman ended Nadal’s run of 36 consecutive sets won at Roland Garros, dominating the longer rallies with well-constructed points. The match was evenly poised at 4-4 in the third set when third seed Nadal converted a crucial break point.
Schwartzman ran out of energy in the fourth as Nadal dispatched him with a clinical performance, the defending champion sending a flurry of winners past the tiring Argentinian.
Earlier defending champion Iga Swiatek was knocked out 6-4 6-4 by Greek Maria Sakkari in the quarterfinals, leaving the women’s draw wide open on Wednesday.
The 20-year-old Pole, who took an off-court medical timeout early in the second set, was overwhelmed by Sakkari’s power and pace on court Philippe Chatrier with up to almost 5,000 spectators now allowed to attend.
World No 9 Swiatek, bidding to become the first woman to retain her title since Justine Henin in 2007, got off to a confident start but lacked her usual poise against Sakkari, who dictated most of the points and was greatly helped by her opponent’s unforced errors.
Sakkari, the world No 18, will take on Czech Barbora Krejcikova for a place in Saturday’s final.
Coco Gauff lost 7-6(6) 6-3 to 33rd-ranked Czech Barbora Krejcikova in the quarterfinals on Wednesday despite having the upper hand.
Gauff, 17, had five set points in the opening set before Krejcikova turned the tables on the 24th seed in the tiebreak. Krejcikova, 25, then raced into a 5-0 lead in the second set before clinching victory on her sixth match point to reach her first semifinal at Roland Garros.
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