The Spaniard qualified for his fourteenth Porte d’Auteuil final on Friday after a match interrupted by the injury of Alexander Zverev, who was forced to surrender before the second set tie-break.
At Roland Garros
An unfinished war and a heartbreaking epilogue. In the score 6-6 in the second set, while Nadal and Zverev fought for three hours and thirteen an arm wrestling with insane intensity, Zverev collapses and squirms in pain after making one arm at the end of the race. The right ankle of world number 3 is back. The picture is awful. The cold. The tearful Hamburg native screams in pain and leaves the court in a wheelchair for medical treatment. But the result is no longer in doubt. And a few minutes later, back on the crutch field, his abandonment is formalized. Nadal tries to comfort the unfortunate Zverev. Epilog mizor …
“Bad luck is to blame, Nadal then exploded in front of the press. I hope Sascha is not too bad and is just a twist of the ankle and has not broken anything. Before I got back on the field, I was in the room with Sascha and watching her cry is a very difficult moment. I really wish you the best and a speedy recovery.“One sure thing, the king of mud would have preferred to win his war with justice.”Sure to be in the Roland Garros final once again is a dream, but at the same time, to end up like that, to see her cry in the locker rooms, is a very difficult moment.Nadal was bent but not broken for more than three hours. With a fantastic overtaking along the line, the home side grabbed the first act from the decisive game (10-8) after… 1:31 of the overly intense game. Led 6 -2 in the tie-break, the invincible Nadal did not give up, deleting four set-points in a row, taking the score 6-6, especially with a crossover of the anthology.Enough to overturn a Chatrier happily, on more than ever committed to his cause.
I know how much this game meant to him. He wanted to win his first Grand Slam.
On the ropes, however, Zverev broke twice in a second set just as stifling and confusing. A second act where Nadal was still shaking, but where Zverev, when serving to get a set everywhere, was still shaking. Proven by his two double faults at 5-3 in his favor. It is difficult to say how the match would have ended if the German had not been hit in the middle of the clash.The match was tough. There were many ups and downs, although the level of tennis was very high. He started playing extremely well. I know how much this game meant to him. He wanted to win his first Grand Slam. For this he was fighting“.
Protected from the sun, the land of Paris is less hospitable to Nadal. The roof, set on Friday due to rain, reduced his destructive rotation and the violence of his arm slaps hurt less than usual, as did his kicks at the end of the kick. Late, at certain beginnings, he was often crossed by Zverev. “Conditions, indeed, are the slowest I have seen in a very long time here in Roland-Garros because it was very humid this afternoon. And when there is a lot of moisture, the balls are very heavy, it is very difficult to put the balls spinning and spin them as well. So the conditions were not ideal for me, so I could not create the game I wanted, to dominate. In addition, he started the match blindingly. And it’s a miracle for me, this first set. Under these conditions, I could not push him, and he hit clean balls every time, and what I was doing was mostly in survival mode.»
And yet … Still alive, still standing. In Rome, on 14 May Nadal limped in the 3rd set of his eighth lost final against Denis Shapovalov. His left leg is bruised by Muller-Weiss syndrome. A disease from which he has been suffering for years but which has worsened in recent months. “I was not very positive, it’s true, at the time as far as my leg was concerned. Anyway, I knew I could play here and I did. I played, I fought. I did everything I could to give myself at least this opportunity to get here where I am now and I’m happy about it.“Because in Paris, magic always works. The pain, which he treats with anti-inflammatory drugs, has not yet defeated the tireless fighter. After his five-set victory against Auger-Aliassime in the 16th round, the mayor had swelled : “To be honest, every game I play here could be the last.The final dance will wait a little longer. Day or night, roofless or pitched, the Philippe Chatrier courtyard is the scene of its extraordinary longevity. After a 4 hour and 12 mutant battle against his best enemy Djokovic, the Spaniard had thwarted his chances. And for his 36th birthday, which he celebrated on Friday, “Rafabecomes the second oldest Roland-Garros finalist in history, after American Bill Tilden, 37, in 1930. A beautiful gift.
On Sunday, the king will aim for a fourteenth Porte d’Auteuil crown in the fourteenth final against Marin Cilic or Casper Ruud and a record 22nd Grand Slam. Unique.
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