Nadal advances to French Open semi-finals after beating Djokovic

But the mood has changed in recent seasons. There is now a statue of Nadal near the entrance to the stadium complex, and throughout Tues...

But the mood has changed in recent seasons. There is now a statue of Nadal near the entrance to the stadium complex, and throughout Tuesday evening there were chants of ‘Rafa’ even as Djokovic prepared to serve in critical phases .

“I think they probably know I won’t be here many more times,” Nadal said.

It was Djokovic who didn’t get the chance to play at the Australian Open this year. He was sent off on the eve of the competition after a confrontation with the Australian government over his non-vaccination against Covid-19. But he arrived in Paris and Tuesday’s game in more convincing form than Nadal, who is arguably the greatest male clay-court player in history but has been very short on surface games this year.

“Yes, I was surprised by my level tonight,” said Nadal. “But in a way it makes it easier when you know you need your A game or you’re going home.”

Nadal injured his ribs at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California in March, losing the final to American Taylor Fritz while playing with a stress fracture. He missed most of the start of the clay-court season and only returned for the Madrid Open in mid-May when he was upset by fellow 19-year-old Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz. in the quarter-finals.

Then came the Italian Open, his only other clay-court event before Roland Garros, where Nadal was beaten in three sets by Canadian Denis Shapovalov in an overnight round of 16 match in Rome in which he limped to upon arrival, grimacing in pain as his chronic left foot condition resurfaced. He was dejected after that defeat but did not rule out playing at Roland Garros and arrived in Paris seeded fifth and, unlike Rome, with his longtime doctor Angel Ruiz-Cotorro.

“Having the doctor here, you can do things that help,” Nadal said, declining to go into details about his treatment while continuing to suggest this could be his last appearance at Roland Garros. “I’m putting everything I have to try to play this tournament in the best possible conditions, right? I don’t know what can happen next, honestly, but here I think it will be fine.

As often, Nadal was able to play and win despite the pain. He battled to a five-set victory in the fourth round over 21-year-old Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime, then faced top-seeded Djokovic for the 59th time on tour and 10th time at Roland Garros.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Nadal advances to French Open semi-finals after beating Djokovic
Nadal advances to French Open semi-finals after beating Djokovic
Newsrust - US Top News
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