Before the rain postponed their French Open quarterfinal Wednesday, Rafael Nadal was down a set and neck and neck with Diego Schwartzman in the second set. When play resumed Thursday, however, Nadal returned to his dominance at Roland Garros. He won three consecutive sets to advance to the semifinals, and he did so emphatically.
Nadal had just 32 unforced errors in the final three sets of the match, and although Schwartzman played well, he just couldn't recapture the lightning of his 20 winners in the first set, picking up 17 for the rest of the match. Nadal racked up 18 winners in the fourth set to capture the match, ultimately overpowering Schwartzman.
235th Grand Slam match win for @RafaelNadal!— Roland-Garros (@rolandgarros) June 7, 2018
The 10-time champion recovers from a set down to reach the semifinals 4-6 6-3 6-3 6-2 over Schwartzman.#RG18 pic.twitter.com/Nr8ZvwkPCI
Nadal will play Juan Martin del Potro, who defeated Marin Cilic in four sets after play was suspended Wednesday at 6-6 in the first set. Del Potro is going to his second French Open semifinal and his first since 2009. Nadal leads the head-to-head 9-5 against del Potro, last seeing him in last year's US Open (which Nadal won in four sets). Although it will be a difficult task for del Potro, he's enjoying the moment.
First Roland-Garros semifinal since 2009!@delpotrojuan outlasts Cilic 7-6(5) 5-7 6-3 7-5. Meets Nadal tomorrow. #RG18 pic.twitter.com/Cy9xqPDrwa— Roland-Garros (@rolandgarros) June 7, 2018
Although Nadal stormed back against Schwartzman, Schwartzman did dent his perfect record in sets for this tournament. Now, del Potro will seek to break it open and steal a win Friday.
In the women's bracket, Garbine Muguruza fell to Simona Halep in straight sets a day after dominating Maria Sharapova. Muguruza had her serve broken six times by Halep, who was, frankly, better throughout the match. Muguruza didn't play particularly poorly -- she had 31 errors to Halep's 24 and just two fewer winners -- but phenomenal first- and second-ball winning percentages gave Halep the edge.
The women's final will pit Halep against No. 10 Sloane Stephens, who topped fellow American Madison Keys in straight sets to advance. Stephens is continuing her remarkable rebound from several poor showings after winning the US Open with some flawless play Thursday. She had 11 errors for the match, forcing Keys to get 25 winners just to keep the sets close. Halep is 5-2 career against Stephens, but the last major they faced off in was the French Open in 2014. Should Stepehns beat Halep, it would be her second win in three majors.
Thursday, June 7 scores
- No. 1 Rafael Nadal defeats No. 11 Diego Schwartzman 4-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-2
- No. 5 Juan Martin del Potro defeats No. 3 Marin Cilic 7-6, 5-7, 6-3, 7-5
- No. 1 Simona Halep defeats No. 3 Garbine Muguruza 6-1, 6-4
- No. 10 Sloane Stephens defeats No. 13 Madison Keys 6-4, 6-4