Rafael Nadal will face Diego Schwartzman in the semi-finals of the French Open on Thursday after ruthlessly dispatching Jannik Sinner. And though the Argentine has lost 10 times to the 34-year-old, he feels he can win. Nadal is the king of Roland Garros, having lifted the title 12 times over the years.
Nadal was too strong for Sinner in their French Open showdown on Tuesday, beating the Italian 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 6-1 in a match which ended at 12.25am in Paris.
He’ll now go up against Schwartzman in the last four, with the Spaniard the overwhelming favourite.
Nadal has extra motivation going into the clash, knowing he’s just two wins away from matching Roger Federer’s Grand Slam haul of 20.
The 34-year-old has beaten Schwartzman 10 times from their 11 matches, though did recently lose to the Argentine at the Rome Masters.
And Schwartzman has insisted he can win, explaining he’ll be aggressive when he needs to be in order to make Sunday’s showpiece final.
He said: “I’m not sure [if I am confident] because if I see the history, I’m 10-1 down [to Nadal].
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“But, yeah, I know this week that I can beat him. That’s important thing.”
He then added: “Rafa is the legend here, is the owner of this place almost.
“I have two days free so I’m not thinking yet about the semi-final.
“I have to do a mix every time I’m on court. Being aggressive when I have the chance, having a good defences when I have to do it.”
The 28-year-old caused a major upset in the last eight by beating Dominic Thiem in five sets.
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And Nadal praised Schwartzman after the contest against Sinner, saying: “He’s coming with big confidence, no? Two weeks in a row.
“He’s in the final in Rome, he’s in the semi-finals here. He beat me there. It’s a plus of confidence for him. I know that.”
Sinner became the first French Open debutant since Nadal himself to make the quarter-finals of the competition since 2005.
And the Spaniard was full of praise for his opponent, saying: “Sinner is a very, very young talent with a lot of power, great shots.
“For two sets it was tough, especially in the second set I was lucky to be back.
“The conditions were a little bit difficult, he was hitting every ball very hard and with this cold, my speed is not there. It was hard for me to put him out of position.
“Now I have two, well almost one and a half days off to rest and practice.”
Sinner himself said: “I’m a person who looks not in the future and not in the past, always in the present.
“At the end you have to show everything. I haven’t won anything until now. Okay, Next Gen, it’s one tournament. At the end I haven’t won anything.
“It’s just head down and try to improve, try to play hours after hours on court, which I need to do. We will see in 12 months where I am.”
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