Rafael Nadal Advances to 2020 French Open Final with Win vs. Diego Schwartzman

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistOctober 9, 2020

Spain's Rafael Nadal plays a shot against Argentina's Diego Schwartzman in the semifinal match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France, Friday, Oct. 9, 2020. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)
Michel Euler/Associated Press

Rafael Nadal is one win away from an unprecedented 13th French Open title after a straight-sets victory, 6-3, 6-3, 7-6 (0), over Diego Schwartzman on Friday in the 2020 men's semifinals at Stade Roland-Garros in Paris.

Nadal, who will face either Novak Djokovic or Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final Sunday, is seeking his fourth straight championship at Roland-Garros. His career record in the event is now 99-2.

The tournament marked Schwartzman's first major semifinal in his 25th Grand Slam appearance. His career mark against Nadal drops to 1-10.

Nadal cruised through the first two sets, but the 28-year-old Argentine created some resistance in the third. After they traded four straight breaks of serve in the middle of the set, the key game came with the 34-year-old Spanish superstar serving at 5-5.

Schwartzman created three break points that would have given him a chance to serve for the set. Nadal fought them all off, held serve and ultimately dominated the tiebreak (7-0) to advance.

"I played a couple of bad points in the third and Diego is very tough," Nadal said. "Very difficult until the end. But today it was a very positive match for me."

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It wasn't the most efficient performance for the 19-time Grand Slam singles champion, who only narrowly tallied more winners (38) than unforced errors (34).

Nadal did play the clutch points far better than Schwartzman, though. The No. 2 seed converted six of his nine break chances compared to just three of 12 for his 12th-seeded opponent. He also won 17 of the 24 points (71 percent) when he came to net.

He's advanced to the final without dropping a set throughout the tournament, and only twice was a set even pushed to a tiebreak—including the third against Schwartzman on Friday.

Looking back, one of Nadal's two losses at Roland-Garros came against Djokovic in the 2015 quarterfinals. The other was a fourth-round loss to Robin Soderling in 2009.

He'll likely be the favorite in the final regardless of who wins the second semifinal, but Djokovic represents the tougher potential matchup.