Never before has Roger Federer's record of 20 Grand Slams been in danger. Rafael Nadal hit his fourth consecutive final at the Roland Garros, taking only one win from the hook against his eternal rival. The Manacor champion won 6-3 6-3 7-6 (0) in 3 hours and 9 minutes on Philippe Chatrier, facilitated by the sunny weather that characterized the last three days here in Paris.
Big applause for the Argentine, who became the protagonist of an extraordinary tournament and will celebrate entering the Top 10 for the first time in his career.
Nadal reaches the 13th final at Roland Garros
The start of the match was all about balance, with Schwartzman trying to replicate the same tactical plan with which he had tripped Nadal at the Internationals of Italy a few weeks ago.
The Spaniard won a first game that lasted a good thirteen minutes, canceling two break points but giving the impression that he was struggling to find depth with the forehand. Unlike what happened in Rome, the former world number 1 used much more the slice and the high backhand trajectories to take away the pace from the South American, who made a few mistakes too many that sent Rafa up 2-0.
The Majorcan was not yet perfect from the baseline, he alternated good solutions with unusual mistakes and allowed Diego to get back on track immediately in the next game. The meager 55% of first balls in the field, combined with the poor performance of Peque on the second (three points won in the whole set), were too greedy an invitation for Nadal, who broke again at 15 and this time capitalized the advantage up to 4- 1.
The number 12 of the seeding held up well from the baseline exchanges, but the feeling was that he did not have sharp enough weapons to close the points in the garden of the Iberian. Despite being forced to sweat in almost all the remaining games, the twelve-time champion of this tournament got the fraction 6-3 in an hour and five minutes of battle.
In the second set, Nadal's serve was the difference, able to win 81% of the points with the first on the pitch and 75% with the second. This domination in the bar gave Rafael the necessary tranquility to let go of his arm in response, so much so that the break materialized already in the third game.
At 4-2, the Manacor phenomenon earned him three more consecutive break points, but ended up pardoning an understandably frustrated Schwartzman over the course of the match. The conclusion of the set was only postponed for a few minutes, sealed by yet another change of gear of the 19-time Grand Slam champion.
Two sets behind and with the inertia all in favor of his rival, Diego was trying to grit his teeth at the start of the third fraction. No noteworthy jolt until the 2-1, when a merciless streak of eight points to zero certified the Spaniard's draw.
Here a physiological drop in Rafa's concentration propitiated the immediate counter-break, useful to testify the indomitable character of the Peque. Not even the time to enjoy the moment, which Schwartzman already found himself with water in his throat.
Nadal broke his serve to zero at 3-2, but the heart of the Buenos Aires tennis player pushed him over an apparently insurmountable obstacle. Despite a desperate situation for anyone and with little residual energy, Diego scraped the bottom of the tank to mend the tear and put Nadal on the ropes to the sound of accelerations.
The second seed found help with his devastating right to take the eleventh game, which coincided with Schwartzman’s best moment of the match. Rafa dragged the set to the tiebreaker thanks to experience, while Diego committed a series of levies at the start of the jeu decisif that proved fatal.
Involved at 4-0 more for demerits than his rival, Nadal slipped three more points in a row that earned him the 13th final in Port d'Auteuil. A simply monstrous figure.