Thirteen-time champion Rafael Nadal of Spain entered his 14th French Open semi-finals with a 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-0 win over Argentina’s 10th seed Diego Schwartzman in two hours and 45 minutes here on Wednesday.
World No.3 Nadal, who is bidding to become the winner of the highest number of Grand Slam titles at 21, will play the winner of the contest between world No.1 Novak Djokovic of Serbia and Matteo Berrettini of Italy on Friday.
Djokovic, the 2016 French Open champion and winner of 18 majors, leads 29-28 in his famed rivalry with Nadal. The 35-year-old Spaniard, however, beat his arch rival in the Italian Open final in Rome recently.
Against ninth-seed Italian Berrettini, Nadal enjoys a 1-0 head-to-head lead.
Nadal, who improved his match record here to 105-2, lost the final three games of the second set. He, however, regrouped in the third set, and, from a 3-4 deficit, he returned to cracking form to win nine straight games.
“I started badly in the second set, then I was able to come back. But at 4-4, returning with the wind, I played a bad game and hit a double fault in the next game. I needed to play more aggressively and I did so throughout the rest of the match,” said Nadal after the match.
Schwartzman, who had not dropped a set in four matches en route to the quarterfinals, is now 16-11 this season, including a fourth ATP Tour title at the Argentina Open in Buenos Aires.
Last year, Schwartzman, 28, had beaten Nadal at the Italian Open, but lost to him in the French Open semi-finals.