Spain's Rafael Nadal returns the ball to Argentina's Diego Schwartzman during men's singles semi-final at  Roland Garros 2020 French Open on Friday
Spain's Rafael Nadal returns the ball to Argentina's Diego Schwartzman during men's singles semi-final at Roland Garros 2020 French Open on Friday
AFP

Paris

Rafael Nadal’s bid for an unprecedented 13th Roland-Garros has claimed its sixth victim as the Spaniard saw off 12th seed Diego Schwartzman to reach the final on Friday.

The No.2 seed had fallen to the Argentinian in his sole clay-court lead-up event, in the Rome quarter-finals, but there was to be no repeat on Court Philippe-Chatrier as he ran out a 6-3, 6-3, 7-6(0) winner.

Schwartzman was aiming to become only the third player to beat the 34-year-old twice on clay in one season and after defeating US Open champion Dominic Thiem in five sets in the quarter-finals, his confidence was high.

Nadal, though, had comfortably acclimatised to the Paris conditions, having dropped just 34 games and no sets leading into the semi-final.

The pair had completed just five games in the opening 40 minutes, including three straight breaks, before Nadal went on to serve out a one-set lead after 66 minutes.

It was far smoother sailing for the Spaniard through set No.2 and he looked to be cruising when he broke for 3-1 in the third set. Much like the opening set, however, it triggered a string of breaks - this time four - before the Argentinian pulled back level at 4-all.

Nadal survived another torrid struggle on serve in a 12-minute game to keep his nose in front 6-5 before Schwartzman raised his aggression to force the tie-break.

From there it was all the Spaniard as he capitalised on a suddenly error-riddled opponent to seal his 99th win on the Parisian clay after three hours and 12 minutes.

“A couple of points I had a couple of mistakes. He played some good points and then I had one volley here and I missed another volley. I know against Diego it’s very difficult until the end," Nadal said. "He’s one of the guys who makes more breaks on the tour. I expected a very tough match. I think I have been improving...

"I have been playing him a lot of times, but he’s getting better and better every time. In Rome I didn’t play my best and he played well very well, every day."

Nadal awaits either top seed Novak Djokovic or fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in Sunday’s final.

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