The men’s draw of the French Open is nearing the final four, and unsurprisingly, King of Clay Rafael Nadal is once again a top contender to claim the title.
The record 12-time champion has been his old dominant self as he’s reached his 13th career semi-final at Roland Garros. He will meet Diego Schwartzman, who is in his first Grand Slam semi after knocking out US Open champion Dominic Thiem in an epic five-set quarter-final battle.
Meanwhile, Novak Djokovic had a bit of deja vu as he once again hit another line judge.
Rafael Nadal continues to roll at Roland Garros
Rafael Nadal booked his place to the semi-finals of the French Open with a dominant 7-6(4) 6-4 6-1 win over surprising teen Jannik Sinner in the quarter-final.
The match was played in less than ideal circumstances; it ended at 1:30 in the morning — the latest night ever at Roland Garros — with cold, windy conditions that Nadal described as “dangerous.”
As a result, Nadal looked a little sloppy. He committed 33 unforced errors, the same amount he had over his last two matches. He also had his serve broken twice, as many as in his previous four matches.
But he was able to regroup as he broke Sinner’s serve six times and took control of the match after the first-set tie-break.
Still, Nadal was quite complimentary of his teenage opponent post-match.
“Sinner is a very, very young talent with a lot of power, great shots,” said Nadal. “The conditions here were a little bit difficult because he was hitting every ball very hard, for me it was difficult. The ball, with this court, the spin is not there. For me, it was difficult to pull him out of the position.”
Nadal has been simply unstoppable at Roland Garros thus far. He has yet to lose a single set and has had his serve broken just four times. He will now move on to face Diego Schwartzman in the semi-finals.
Diego Schwartzman tops Dominic Thiem in five-setter
The Nadal-Sinner match went so late because Diego Schwartzmann and reigning US Open champion Dominic Thiem were busy fighting an epic five-set battle which Schwartzman ultimately won.
Schwartzman came back from 2-4 down in the first set to win a tie-breaker. He also had big chances to win the second and third sets but allowed Thiem to come back and win them to take a 2-1 lead.
Schwartzman also came close to squandering a lead in the fourth set as Thiem saved three set points to tie it up at 5-5. But Schwartzman rallied to take the tie-breaker before Thiem eventually succumbed in the fifth.
Thiem had seven aces and 65 winners in the match which provided several French Open 2020 highlights, but he also committed 81 unforced errors to Schwartzman’s 62 and converted just nine of 22 break point opportunities.
“We are friends,” Schwartzman said of Thiem. “I have a lot of respect for him and that’s why this match is very, very important for me. Not just to play a good match, winning after five hours in Philippe Chatrier, first time. I’ve played few times five sets here and I never win. I think at the end, this night, I deserve to win. Come on.”
The French Open 2020 betting odds will be heavily against Schwartzman as he takes on Nadal, but he should still head into the match full of confidence. Schwartzman beat the Spaniard in their most recent meeting at the Rome Masters just a few weeks ago.
Novak Djokovic hits line judge again
Novak Djokovic has done it again. After getting ousted from the US Open due to hitting a line judge in the throat with a ball, the World No. 1 once again struck a line judge at Roland Garros in his fourth-round match against Karen Khachanov, although it was a somewhat different situation this time around.
As Djokovic was trying to return Khachanov’s serve, the ball ricocheted off his racquet and into the head of a male line judge.
Djokovic would not get defaulted this time around since he was trying to play the ball, but it still brought a moment of concern.
“My gosh, it was very awkward déjà vu,” Djokovic said. “I’m actually trying to find the lines person and see if he’s okay because I saw he had a little bit of a bruise, like redness, in that place in the head where the ball hit him.
“I hope he’s fine. He definitely dealt with it in a very strong and brave way. But it was a hit because I was very close. Obviously because of what happened in New York, people… are going to make the story out of this.”
Djokovic would go on to beat Khachanov in straight sets, 6-4 6-3 6-3, and will face Pablo Carreno Busta — his opponent when he was disqualified from the US Open — in the quarter-finals.
SBOTOP odds have Djokovic heavily favoured in that match, and barring another unexpected line judge-hitting scenario, he should progress to the semis.
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