Rafael Nadal’s hunt for his 13th French Open title continues as he moved to the final of the tournament by getting past his Rome Masters vanquisher Diego Schwartzman in three, hard-fought sets. Get the live updates below.
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Nadal v Schwarzman Live Score
Nadal 6-3, 6-3, 7-6 (0) Schwartzman
Nadal looked to be in trouble in his opening service game as he faced two break-points and four deuces, not to mention longish rallies which pushed the game into a whopping 14 minutes. For someone who hasn’t dropped a set all tournament, Schwartzman’s ability to get into a tussle with the Spaniard looked to have taken him aback before Nadal finally held on to the serve.
It looked like Schwartzman would be off to a flier on serve as he raced off to a 30-0 lead but Nadal then turned on the screws to run away with the next four in a row to break serve and win the game.
Not surprising, however, Schwartzman wasn’t about to throw in the towel, having beaten Nadal in straight sets at the Rome Masters and in the very next game, he broke back. Up 30-15, Nadal was pushed to the backline after a few engaging rallies and an unforced error at 30-40 gave Schwartzman the break of serve.
Not to be outdone, Nadal made it three breaks in a row in the opening set, when he swooped to clinch four points in a row from 0-15 down and take a 3-1 lead.
The Spaniard then had a chance to consolidate the break when he took a 40-15 lead on his own serve, but Schwartzman drew level and then again pulled it back to deuce when Nadal had a third game-point on serve.
Schwartzman got himself a break-point which Nadal saved with an ace, and then proceeded to win the game to take a 4-1 lead.
I guess you can’t say that Rafa “jumped out to a quick 4-1 lead” over Schwartzman, because it has taken 40 minutes. But he has a 4-1 lead.
— Steve Tignor (@SteveTignor) October 9, 2020
It was in the sixth game of the opening set that Schwartzman finally held serve, his first of the match. It was also the first which didn’t go to deuce in what was an indication of how evenly-fought the match was. And if Schwartzman had an easy hold in the sixth game, Nadal retaliated with one of his own, to 15, to get to a game of pocketing the first set.
After three successive breaks of serve, it turned to four consecutive holds, with the Argentine dishing out the same dose to Nadal by holding to 15, forcing the Spaniard to serve out the set.
A solid winner gave Schwartzman the first point of the ninth game on Nadal’s serve but he followed it up with an unforced error to level things. Nadal’s own unforced error and a couple of solid serves brought it to set-point which he gave away with a poor shot into the net.
A long trading of shots was followed by a brutal winner across gave him his second set-point but Schwartzman wasn’t done yet as he forced error out of his opponent to bring it back to deuce. Nadal got his third chance to close out the set with a beautifully-played drop shot and this time around, Schwartzman hit a backhand into the net to give the Spaniard the first set in 64 minutes.
Schwartzman began the second set with an easy hold, his first of the match to love thanks partly due to a couple of strange unforced errors from Nadal and an excellent winner at 40-0.
And as if to prove Nadal could do it too, the world number two followed it up with service game to love of his own to level things out at 1-1. It was in the third game of the set we got our first break, with Nadal racing off to a 30-0 lead on Schwartzman’s serve and then winning the two after the Argentine had levelled it at 30-30.
Schwartzman’s unforced errors looked like they were catching up in what looked to be a battle of perseverance, as Nadal took a 2-1 lead.
The Argentine had bit of a chance at 30-30 on Nadal’s serve but failed to convert it as a couple of unforced errors pushed him back in that fourth game of the second set. An easy hold followed keeping Schwartzman in the set but what he needed was to break the Spaniard’s serve.
With the amount of stress a Rafa Diego match gives me you wouldn’t think Diego has only beat Rafa once. 😩 #RG20
— Zubeda Ismail (@zubedaismail) October 9, 2020
Schwartzman had that chance when he took a 30-0 lead on Nadal’s serve with a brilliant running forehand, but Nadal proved to be too good for his opponent by running away with the next four points in a row including a superb drop-shot.
Instead, it was Nadal who raced away to 40-0 on the Argentine’s serve, earning him three break-points, but it was Schwartzman’s chance to fight back. He won five in a row to maintain serve and remain in touching distance with the world number two.
Nadal held on to his next serve in a jiffy to ensure Schwartzman would have to serve to stay in the second set. Unfortunately, a weary Schwartzman failed to do that, as Nadal broke again to wrap up the second set in 44 minutes.
A 19-shot rally opened the third set, and while Schwartzman fought hard, the shots didn’t show the kind of sting that was on offer in Rome as Nadal raced off to an easy service win. Things looked like they were going against him when Schwartzman lost the first point next game but a scurrying shot off a Nadal lob and an ace brought parity to the proceedings in the third set.
Things remained on serve when Nadal blasted out another hold to love and took a 2-1 lead before a thoroughly exhausted Schwartzman let up and lost his serve without winning a point as well. At this stage, it looked like the goose was cooked for the Argentine as Nadal seemed only a few minutes away from a berth in the final.
Schwartzman had his chance though when Nadal missed a simple forehand winner down the line, but an unforced error from the Argentine got it back to deuce. A second break-point ensued when Nadal’s forehand hit the net cord and rolled wide and another forehand error gave Schwartzman the much needed break of serve.
Not that it looked to have deterred Nadal too much as he took off yet again to break Schwartzman to love, getting to within two games of a place in the final. There was a chance to break right back, when Schwartzman led 40-30 on his opponent’s serve, and then again when he was up an advantage on two separate occasions, and off the third change he got, the Argentine managed to achieve that.
And as Schwartzman levelled the third set at 4-4, it looked like that was enough for some to write Nadal off for the final.
— ULTM8SerenaWilliamsf (@ultm8swfans) October 9, 2020
Nadal finally held on to his serve too in the ninth game and on love to take a 5-4, forcing Schwartzman to serve to stay in the match and he did that on 30. Nadal did have a chance to get to a match-point at 30-30 but ended up messing up a simple backhand down the line.
The Argentine then had a couple of break-points to break Nadal for the third time in the set, but the 12-time champion was having none of it as he staved off both of them. Schwartzman then faced a game-point of his own before winning the next two points to get himself a third break-point.
Nadal moved to net to win the volley and after a couple more deuces held serve in a game lasting 12 minutes to take a 6-5 lead but Schwartzman, now confident from his comeback, held easily to push the set into the tie-breaker.
While Schwartzman had done so much to push the set into a tie-breaker after finding himself down a break on two separate occasions, it looked like he had lost steam by then. Nadal got the early mini-break and quickly made it 3-0 by doubling that and while Schwartzman had a chance to win back a point, he missed a couple of smashes.
The Spaniard did not look behind, clinching seven points in a row to complete a straight set win in three hours and nine minutes.
Nadal v Schwartzman Preview
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