Rafael Nadal made the Roland Garros debut in 2005. A youngster was among the top picks, and he demonstrated that on the court to lift the principal Major crown and become the last teen to accomplish that. Rafa has been a player to beat in Paris for very nearly twenty years, overcoming 13 titles in the past 17 excursions to the French capital.
Rafa has won 110 out of 113 matches at Roland Garros, and he is on the course towards the fourteenth title this week. Nadal is through to his fifteenth Roland Garros semi-last from 18 appearances at his adored Major, beating five opponents and standing two triumphs from the 22nd Major title.
Thus, Nadal became the second player with 15 semi-finals at a single Major, matching Roger Federer’s Australian Open achievement. Struggling with a foot injury, Rafa was unsure about his chances at Roland Garros, traveling to Paris with his doctor and hoping for the best.
The Spaniard made a winning start, beating Jordan Thompson 6-2, 6-2, 6-2 in two hours and two minutes. Nadal dropped 16 points behind the initial shot and turned over half of the return points into seven breaks from 11 opportunities.
Rafa confronted Corentin Moutet in the subsequent round and scored a 6-3, 6-1, 6-4 victory in two hours and nine minutes during the night meeting on Court Philippe-Chatrier. The Spaniard experienced two breaks and answered with seven return games on his count to control the scoreboard and advance without investing an excess of energy in the court.
In another similar clash, Rafa toppled Biotic Van De Zandschulp 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 in two hours and 11 minutes for a place in the last 16. Nadal lost serve twice and grabbed six breaks to seal the deal despite a little scare in the third set’s closing stages.
Thus, Rafa set the fourth-round clash against Felix Auger-Aliassime, his first serious opponent in Paris this year. Nadal prevailed 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 in four hours and 21 minutes for a place in the 16th Roland Garros quarter-final.
Rafael Nadal is the second player with 15 semi-finals at a single Major.
Thus, Nadal remained undefeated in the clay-court five-setters and set a blockbuster clash against Novak Djokovic. Rafa could have defeated Felix earlier had he converted more break chances, creating 22 and seizing only six.
The Canadian procured five breaks to stay serious and turned into the fourth player who saved Nadal on the court at Roland Garros for more than four hours. Felix joined Robin Soderling, John Isner, and Novak Djokovic on the rundown of players who removed two sets from Rafa in the Roland Garros conflict.
Still, despite a great effort, he could not play his best tennis in the decider to hit the exit door. Nadal started all over in the decider to emerge at the top and find himself in the quarters. In their 59th encounter, Rafa beat Novak 6-2, 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 in four hours and 12 minutes to dethrone the Serb and avenge the last year’s defeat.
Nadal kept the second serve safe and defended eight out of 12 break chances. The Spaniard claimed 43% of the return points and turned them into seven breaks from 17 opportunities. Rafa fired 57 winners and 43 unforced errors, determined to control the pace with his forehand and make the first move in the exchanges.
Nadal brought down Djokovic in the briefest reach up to four strokes and had the high ground in the further developed rallies to take care of business in four sets. Novak had an enormous opportunity to drive a decider and delay his possibilities, opening a 5-2 lead in the fourth set and making two set focuses on his serve in game nine.
Nadal stayed calm and saved them to prolong the set, gathering a boost and moving over the top with a backhand down the line winner at 6-4 in the tie break. The Spaniard will face Alexander Zverev in the semi-final, never losing a match at this stage of Roland Garros.