Rafael Nadal will play well for a 13th title at Roland Garros on Sunday. October or not October, heavy conditions or not, the Spaniard remains faithful to the appointment. He had never lost a semi-final on Parisian clay, and Diego Schwartzman did not change anything. Winner of Nadal in Rome three weeks ago, then striker of Dominic Thiem three days ago, the pocket Argentine broke his nose on the Mallorcan rock.
This semi-final is a seemingly contradictory analysis, but which conceals two truths: it was a fierce but one-sided battle. The intensity of the debates is reflected in the length of the game (three hours and nine minutes), but Nadal has always had a margin over his opponent, which is revealed by the three sets which were enough for him to qualify: 6- 3, 6-3, 7-6. Fifteen years after his first coronation, the King of Paris, even with a truncated preparation, still constitutes an insoluble equation for almost the entire circuit. Schwartzman can attest to this.
64 minutes for nine games
Diego Schwartzman has tried everything. It was his greatest merit on Friday. He never gave up, pushing the three-time defending champion to go for this match. But he will have constantly galloped after the score. Broken at the start or almost in each of the three races, he won an exhausting chase that was almost lost in advance. Like this first set, which lasted 64 minutes for only nine games. Nadal struck first, Schwartzman returned the punches but he ended up folding. The hard part was done.
The second round was also the “quieter” for the world number 2. Blaming the blow of these efforts made in vain, especially after the five hours of fighting against Thiem which necessarily had to weigh on him in the legs, the Argentinian did not obtain the slightest break point. This 6-3 did not have the same smell of sweat as the previous one. With two sets zero, for everyone, the case was heard. For everyone, including, no doubt, Schwartzman. Impression reinforced when Nadal quickly led 3-1 in the third act.
Cut down an oak tree with a teaspoon
But this is where the Buenos Aires outsider was magnificent. He broke the first time, then a second at 4-2 against him. It did not change the history of this semi-final, but everyone enjoyed it, yes, because the second half of this set gave birth to very high quality tennis on both sides. Especially his 11th game, the most beautiful and the most intense of the game. Unfortunately for him, Schwartzman was unable to convert one of his three break points that would have allowed him to serve for the set. Behind, Nadal became ruthless again, finishing 7-0 in the tie-break.
The law of the strongest has struck again. A match with an air of déjà vu. We can try to push Rafael Nadal. You can even do it from time to time. But to debunk it is something else. Diego Schwartzman, despite all his will, his qualities, his punch and his Roman success, did not have the means on Friday. As if he had attacked the trunk of an oak with a teaspoon. Even if you wrestle with it for three hours, the fight is futile.
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