Rafael Nadal: ‘The crucial moment came at 3-4 in the third set’

The 13-time Roland Garros champion Rafael Nadal advanced to the semis for the 14th time this June. Rafa took down Diego Schwartzman 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-0, struggling a bit in sets two and three but still sealing the deal in two hours and 45 minutes to set Novak Djokovic clash. Schwartzman had not played well before Paris, finding his A-game at the clay Major and advancing into the quarters without losing a set. He took a set away from Rafa at Roland Garros for the first time since 2019, and the Spaniard had to work hard to break the rival’s resistance and topple him in the fourth. Like many times before, Rafa shifted into a higher gear and rattled off the last nine games of the encounter to move over the top and remain on the title course. Rafa said he faced a challenging service game at 3-4 in the third set, bringing it home at love with a backhand down the line winner and gathering confidence that carried him over the top.

“I served at 3-4 in the third set, with pressure on my back. I was determined to play a good game, and it went great for me. I increased my level when I needed it the most. From that moment until the end, I produced an excellent level of tennis, perhaps the highest of the entire tournament. I stayed calm and played like on the practice court, restoring the order after struggling to follow Diego’s aggressive pace in set number two. My balls were short and lacked depth in those moments; I had to change that, and I started moving forward and attacking.

Rafael Nadal had to work hard in the opening three sets against Schwartzman in Paris.

Regardless of my past results at Roland Garros, I’m not confident if I do not play well. I faced a tricky situation in the third set, and I calmed down and did the right things. I would have preferred to face Novak in the final, mainly because you are already in the title match. In the semis, you have one more encounter after that en route to the title. Novak is a formidable opponent, and if you beat him, you have to face another rival from the top. Novak and I know each other well. In this type of match, anything can happen. Whoever brings the better tennis will have bigger chances to win. My numbers here in Paris are staggering, but I can not think about them right now. It’s time to be happy today, as I beat a tough rival and played my best tennis in crucial moments; that gives me confidence,” Rafael Nadal said.

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