Nadal downs Schwartzman to reach semi-final

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French Open 2021
Sakkari beats Swiatek to secure semifinals berth

Rafael Nadal reached a record-extending 14th French Open semi-final on Wednesday with a 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-0 win over Diego Schwartzman.
Nadal, bidding for a 14th Roland Garros title and record 21st major triumph, dropped his first set at the tournament since 2019 — ending a run of 36 consecutive sets won in Paris by the Spanish third seed.
The 35-year-old Nadal extended his incredible French Open record to 105 wins and two losses as he advanced to his 35th Grand Slam semi-final. He beat Argentine 10th seed Schwartzman in the last four of the 2020 edition.
Meanwhile, Maria Sakkari defeated defending champion Iga Swiatek 6-4, 6-4 to reach a Grand Slam semi-final at the French Open on Wednesday. The world number 18 will face unseeded Barbora Krejcikova of the Czech Republic for a place in the final after seeing off Swiatek who had required a medical timeout early in the second set.
Thursday’s other semi-final sees Russian 31st seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova tackle unseeded Tamara Zidansek of Slovenia. “I am speechless. It is a dream coming true. I don’t know, it is a very nice feeling and I could not have done it without my team and their support,” said the 25-year-old.
“We have a long way to go but we made a huge step today. “I enjoyed myself and sat down and said to myself it is an important match but to enjoy it. I had to enjoy it.” For only the second time in the Open era, there are four first-time Grand Slam semi-finalists in women’s singles, after the 1978 Australian Open.
Furthermore, for just the fifth time in Roland Garros history, a player seeded outside the top 10 will lift the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen on Saturday.
Sakkari is the second Greek in the semi-finals of the singles at this year’s French Open after Stefanos Tsitsipas made the men’s last four on Tuesday.
Swiatek had carved a break for 2-0 in the first set before the Greek quickly levelled, breaking again for a 5-4 lead.
Sakkari confidently pocketed the opener, ending the champion’s run of 22 straight sets won at the tournament. When Swiatek slipped 0-2 down in the second set, the Pole left the court for a medical timeout, returning with her right thigh tightly strapped.
Swiatek had to battle to avoid going a double break down in the fifth game but eventually succumbed in the 10th. Sakkari reaped the reward for her all-out attacking game with five aces and 26 winners. AFP