Nadal pleased to pass Schwartzman test

10 June 2021 16:55:06

Rafael Nadal says Diego Schwartzman provided him with a "difficult challenge" as he prevailed in four sets to secure yet another French Open semi-final spot.

Nadal has been crowned French Open champion on 13 occasions, which includes each of the last four years, and he is?1/1 to reign supreme in Paris again.

The Spaniard won last year's French Open without dropping a set and was on course to do so again after winning the opening four games of his title defence 3-0 against Alexei Popyrin, Richard Gasquet, Cameron Norrie and Jannik Sinner.

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But the world number three was made to work harder than many anticipated by Schwartzman, who had also reached the last eight without losing a set.

The diminutive Argentinian posed a serious threat to the King of Clay and kept close tabs on him, before the legendary Spaniard went through the gears to triumph 6-3 4-6 6-4 6-0,

Today was a very difficult challenge.

Rafael Nadal

Nadal took two hours and 45 minutes to complete the job on Court Philippe-Chatrier and it was a repeat scoreline of the 2018 quarter-final, where he also toppled Schwartzman in four sets.

And speaking on court after the victory, the 35-year-old was full of praise for his quarter-final victim: "Diego is such an amazing player with so much talent and I respect him so much, today was a very difficult challenge.

"Well done to him, he played well."

He added: "We know each other well. I needed to play a little bit more aggressively and I think I did later, so I am very happy about that."

Nadal will lock horns with either Novak Djokovic or Matteo Berrettini in the semi-final.

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