Rafael Nadal battled through to a record-extending 14th Roland Garros semifinal, beating Diego Schwartzman in four sets on Wednesday. The 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-0 victory over the Argentine 10th seed saw his 36-set winning streak end on Parisian clay. Nadal, who is bidding to capture a record 21st major crown, required two hours and 45 minutes on Court Philippe-Chatrier to see out the match. After easing his way to victory in the first set, he lost the final three games of the second set before regrouping himself to win the match in front of 5,000 spectators.
“I started badly in the second set, then I was able to come back,” said Nadal, in an on-court interview. “But at 4-4, returning with the wind, I played a bad game and hit a double fault in the next game. I needed to play more aggressively and I did so throughout the rest of the match.”
Earlier, Schwartzman came under pressure and saved two break points in the fourth game. But it was not long before Nadal began to dictate the tempo with his forehand, and took a 4-2 lead with a powerful forehand winner down the line. Later, Nadal broke his serve for a second time, then bagged the set with a forehand approach winner.
The Argentinian refocused and fought back impressively. He started in blistering fashion, winning 12 of the first 16 points in the second set to take a 3-0 lead. But he could not hold on to the advantage for long as Nadal recovered to 3-3. The roller-coast set took another turn when Schwartzman won the final three games to bag the 47-minute set.
It broke Nadal’s Roland Garros sets streak that dated back to his 6-3, 5-7, 6-1, 6-1 win over Dominic Thiem in the 2019 final. Buoyed by winning a set, Schwartzman’s confidence started to grow and it was evident in his gameplay. It wasn’t until 4-4 that Nadal broke the Argentinian and closed out the set in the next game. At one point Nadal was 3-4 down in the third set, but the Spaniard then won nine games in a row to continue his quest for a 14th Roland Garros title.
In Friday’s semifinals, he will either challenge World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, the 2016 champion, or ninth-seeded Italian Matteo Berrettini.