PARIS • Twelve-time champion Rafael Nadal reached his 13th French Open final yesterday with a 6-3, 6-3, 7-6 (7-0) win over Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman, setting up a title clash tomorrow against Novak Djokovic or Stefanos Tsitsipas.
For 34-year-old Nadal, it was a 99th win – with only two losses – at Roland Garros since his 2005 debut and put him just one victory away from equalling Roger Federer’s men’s record of 20 Grand Slam singles titles. He is also into his 28th final at the Majors.
“It’s always special to play here, to be in the final another time – it’s always a special moment,” said the world No. 2 Spaniard, who is now 124-2 in best-of-five matches on clay and has yet to drop a set in this year’s French Open.
“I made a couple of mistakes (after winning the first two sets). He played some good points. I then missed two volleys. I know against Diego he makes more breaks without a doubt.
“I lost to him in Rome recently so I know it’d be a tough match.
“Three days ago he played an amazing match against Dominic Thiem. I looked at what happened in that match and what happened in Rome and tried to change that.
“Happy the way that I played. I have been improving and today has been a very positive match for me.”
Nadal was beaten by the 12th seed a little over two weeks ago in Rome but he showed he was still the undisputed king of Roland Garros as he notched up a 10th win in 11 meetings over the Argentinian.
Schwartzman, playing his first Grand Slam semi-final, had two break points in the opening game but Nadal saved both to win the game after battling for 14 minutes.
The Spaniard went on to break twice in each of the first two sets.
The duo traded double service breaks in the third set before Nadal aced the tiebreak.
Schwartzman, 28, found the net with a return to hand Nadal victory in 3hr 9min.
Djokovic, the 2016 champion in Paris and chasing an 18th Grand Slam title, took on Greek fifth seed Tsitsipas in the second semi-final later yesterday. The result was unavailable at press time.
The world No. 1 is bidding to become the first man in half a century to win all four Slams twice.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS
Finals: Women’s singles (8.30pm) & men’s doubles (11pm) – Singtel TV Ch114 & StarHub Ch208