French Open: Rafael Nadal beats Diego Schwartzman 4-6 6-3 6-2 6-2

Last Updated June 07 2018, 14:11Tennis
Nadal consoles Schwartzman after a four-set win
Nadal consoles Schwartzman after a four-set win

Rafael Nadal admitted the rain saved him from a shock French Open defeat as he set up a semi-final clash with Juan Martin del Potro.

The 10-time champion needed a downpour on Wednesday evening to rescue him from a deluge of break points, five of which were converted by tricky Argentinian Diego Schwartzman.

Nadal, the undisputed king of clay, had lost his first set at Roland Garros since 2015 and was a break down in the second, but he regrouped during a 53-minute delay.

When the players came back on for half an hour Nadal had rediscovered his serve and found his forehand, until at 5-3 30-15 the heavens opened again.

By Thursday normal service had resumed, the Spaniard reeling off the two points he needed to level the match, and then polishing off two more sets to crush this particular French revolution and secure his place in the semi-finals.

"Of course the stop yesterday helped because it was in a tough moment of my match," said Nadal.

"He was playing great, and I was playing too defensive. I felt that I was playing a little bit under more stress than usual, and he was able to take control of the point too many times.

"I played more aggressive. I continued the level of intensity that I played after the first stop. And, in my opinion, the match changed."

Nadal's serve was picked apart by Schwartzman on Wednesday, but the world number one conceded just one point from his first three service games.

He was inconvenienced by a couple of break points as he served for the third set with 11th seed Schwarztman, a 5ft 7in live wire, refusing to go away quietly.

But, unlike the previous day Nadal's forehand was firing again and he was the one dictating the rallies.

Schwartzman, a nuisance to the end, forced break points as Nadal served for the match but the 32-year-old eventually wrapped up a 4-6 6-3 6-2 6-2 victory to take another step towards title number 11.

In the semi-final he will meet former US Open champion Del Potro, who came through a predictably attritional battle with third seed Marin Cilic in four sets.

The pair were locked at 5-5 in a first-set tie break when the rain came, and it was fifth seed Del Potro who took the first two points upon the resumption to draw first blood.

After 22 games without a break of serve three came along at once, two for Croatian Cilic as he took the second set.

In the third Del Potro was broken again early on but then reeled off four successive games to get his nose back in front.

The fourth set went hurriedly with serve until 5-5, when from out of nowhere Del Potro fashioned three break points.

The Argentinian took the second of them and served out for a 7-6 (7/5) 5-7 6-3 7-5 victory in just under four hours.

Afterwards a tearful Del Potro said on courtside: "It's tough to speak now.

"It has been a long time without a good feeling in my body. I have had three surgeries on my left wrist and I was close to quitting. I don't have any words.

"It's so good for my team and my family. I am so proud to be playing tennis. I feel at home here. Merci beaucoup!"

Juan Martin del Potro celebrates reaching the last four
Juan Martin del Potro celebrates reaching the last four

Related tennis links

Most Read

Scroll down for all of our team's best bets for today's action at Royal Ascot1

Royal Ascot Thursday tips

An at-a-glance guide to our team of experts' best bets for day three of Royal Ascot, featuring Ben Linfoot, Simon Holt and Oli Bell.

The Queen presents Frankie Dettori with his sixth Ascot Gold Cup2

Six Gold Cups for Dettori

A review of day three at Royal Ascot as Stradivarius provided Frankie Dettori with a sixth Gold Cup victory of his glittering career.

Argentina are backed for victory as part of our tips for Thursday's World Cup action3

Thursday's World Cup tips

Our football team look at Thursday's action in the World Cup - where Argentina will be aiming for a better result in Group D.

Denmark complain about VAR penalty decision against Australia4

VAR strikes again in Aussie draw

A Christian Eriksen beauty was cancelled out by a VAR-assisted penalty as Denmark and Australia played out a 1-1 draw in Samara.

Ben Linfoot has big-priced selections for the action at Royal Ascot5

Value Bet: Dubhe can be king

Ben Linfoot picked out 18/1 Royal Hunt Cup winner Settle For Bay on Wednesday and he's backing four at big prices on Thursday including two trained by Aidan O'Brien.

Most Read

Scroll down for all of our team's best bets for today's action at Royal Ascot1

Royal Ascot Thursday tips

An at-a-glance guide to our team of experts' best bets for day three of Royal Ascot, featuring Ben Linfoot, Simon Holt and Oli Bell.

The Queen presents Frankie Dettori with his sixth Ascot Gold Cup2

Six Gold Cups for Dettori

A review of day three at Royal Ascot as Stradivarius provided Frankie Dettori with a sixth Gold Cup victory of his glittering career.

Argentina are backed for victory as part of our tips for Thursday's World Cup action3

Thursday's World Cup tips

Our football team look at Thursday's action in the World Cup - where Argentina will be aiming for a better result in Group D.

Denmark complain about VAR penalty decision against Australia4

VAR strikes again in Aussie draw

A Christian Eriksen beauty was cancelled out by a VAR-assisted penalty as Denmark and Australia played out a 1-1 draw in Samara.

Ben Linfoot has big-priced selections for the action at Royal Ascot5

Value Bet: Dubhe can be king

Ben Linfoot picked out 18/1 Royal Hunt Cup winner Settle For Bay on Wednesday and he's backing four at big prices on Thursday including two trained by Aidan O'Brien.

Racing Tips

Check out Ben Linfoot's Value Bets for the action at Royal Ascot

Value Bet: Pure Perfection

Ben Linfoot has tipped the Hunt Cup winner at 18/1 and Britannia winner at 16/1 this week - don't miss his Value Bet selections for day four of Royal Ascot on Friday.

Scroll down for all of our team's best bets for today's action at Royal Ascot

Royal Ascot Thursday tips

An at-a-glance guide to our team of experts' best bets for day three of Royal Ascot, featuring Ben Linfoot, Simon Holt and Oli Bell.

Oli Bell has a Yankee for today's action at Royal Ascot

Oli Bell: Royal Ascot Yankee

Oli Bell expects Wes Ward to open his 2018 Royal Ascot account today - check out the ITV Racing presenter's recommended day three Yankee.

Next Race Off
17:35 Royal Ascot
4
(18)
Communique
J: S De Sousa
11
(7)
First Eleven
J: L Dettori
2
(11)
Cross Counter
J: W Buick
3
(10)
Downdraft
J: D O'Brien

Football Tips

Argentina are backed for victory as part of our tips for Thursday's World Cup action

Thursday's World Cup tips

Our football team look at Thursday's action in the World Cup - where Argentina will be aiming for a better result in Group D.

Check out our outright tips for the World Cup

World Cup: Outright tips

Five-time winners Brazil are given the confident selection for World Cup glory as Matt Brocklebank takes a look at the outright betting market.

We assess the Golden Boot market ahead of the 2018 World Cup

World Cup 2018: Golden Boot tips

Matt Brocklebank is backing a couple of PSG stars to shine at the World Cup, with two 33/1 Golden Boot bets.