First set: Nadal* 6-5 Zverev (*denotes server). It’s Nadal’s turn to be put through the wringer on his serve. Zverev, perhaps emboldened by surviving that service game, pushes Nadal all over the court to go 0-30 up. Nadal’s deft backspinning drop shot gets him back in it, and another disguised drop takes him to 30-all. However, a brilliant angled passing shot from Zverev gives him a break point. Nadal saves it with a strong wide serve, but can’t do anything about the thunderous forehand winner after a long rally that earns Zverev another break point. Rafa saves this one too with a cute drop-volley, and a poor return from Zverev then cedes an advantage to Nadal. Zverev nets a return to finally wrap up the game.
This set is more than an hour old.
First set: Nadal 5-5 Zverev* (*denotes server). This feels like a big, arduous hold for Zverev after saving set point three times. Nadal overhits a crosscourt forehand before Zverev errs with an overlong back-of-court forehand. A withering high forehand at the net from Zverev takes him to 30-15 but it’s 30-30 after Nadal pins his opponent in the corner of the court and forces a mistake. Zverev’s response is a fierce and forensic backhand winner which is then followed by a soft double-fault for deuce. A smash at the net gets Zverev ahead only for another mishit to keep Nadal in it. Nadal at his competitive best in the next rally earns himself a set point when Zverev nets. But he it’s saved by a fine first serve. Nadal’s backhand into the net is followed by another Zverev double-fault and we’re at deuce again. Zverev seems to dominate the next rally but undermines it all by volleying long to give Nadal another set point. That one’s saved too by confident serve-and-volleying by Zverev. Yet again though, Zverev squanders rally dominance by angling a forehand out. Set point No 3 is saved too, with a superb forehand winner. Another strong serve sets Zverev up to put the game to bed but he only goes and volleys limply into the net to give us the seventh deuce. Nadal overhits an attempted pass at the net and Zverev finally secures the hold with an angled drop shot. Phew!
First set: Nadal* 5-4 Zverev (*denotes server). After an incredibly high-quality start, the odd error is creeping into both players’ games at the moment. Nadal opens his service game with one such, but bosses the next rally, and Zverev then undercooks a forehand into the net for 30-15. Nadal responds with a wayward backhand beyond the line. A good time then, for Nadal to produce a second ace, which he does. Another strong serve puts Nadal in front for the first time in the match.
First set: Nadal 4-4 Zverev* (*denotes server). It hadn’t looked likely until now but Rafa breaks back. Another forceful double-handed backhand gets Zverev’s service game under way, but an attempt at delicacy goes wrong when Radal passes him at the net with an audacious forehand down the line. A miscued Zverev forehand then goes long to give Nadal a glimmer at 15-30, but a volleyed winner at the net followed by a venomous first serve take Zverev ahead. Another unforced error takes us to deuce, before the first double fault of the match gives Nadal break point – but he squanders it at the end of a long rally with a surprisingly sloppy forehand into the net. Then another miscue sends the racket spinning out of Zverev’s hand and gives Nadal a second opportunity to break. This one is taken, when an angled backhand from Zverev goes out.
First set: Nadal* 3-4 Zverev (*denotes server). Huge cheers greet every Nadal point, and they go up a notch after Zverev nets following a rasping long forehand from the Spaniard. A lovely precise forehand past the advancing Zverev takes him to 30-0 and it’s followed by a clever dinked volley at the net. Zverev then tries another winner down the line but this one is just out. This is more like it from Nadal – on his service games at least. He’s not threatened Zverev on his serve from him yet though
First set: Nadal 2-4 Zverev* (*denotes server). An easy hold. Zverev larrups a serve down the middle for his second ace, and a brilliant double-handed backhand down the line takes him to 30-0. He repeats the trick with an even better one next point before sealing the hold to love with an unanswerable forehand. Nadal not offered to sniff there.
First set: Nadal* 2-3 Zverev (*denotes server). Nadal’s strongest game so far. His first drop shot of the match yields a point and is followed by an ace – beauty and brutality. But Zverev has the upper hand in the next rally, and Nadal scuffs a forehand into the net. Another strong serve gives Nadal a cushion, and he secures a comfortable hold when Zverev is forced to hit long.
First set: Nadal 1-3 Zverev* (*denotes server). Zverev comes to the net and dominates a rally that he settles with a withering backhand volley. He moves swiftly to 40-0, as Nadal can’t find the ascendance in another long rally. A rare underhit shot though is followed by a miscued forehand long but Zverev seals his service game with a strong serve.
First set: Nadal* 1-2 Zverev (*denotes server). There’s no doubt that Zverev looks the more powerful and potent player so far, as demonstrated by a fine angled forehand winner from the back of the court. Nadal responds with a fierce serve that Zverev nets, but he’s pushed around again on his serve and Zverev passes him for 15-30. Nadal then finally gets some ascendancy in a rally to force Zverev to hit long, and follows it up with another couple of excellent first serves to get himself up and running.
First set: Nadal 0-2 Zverev* (*denotes server). A fierce first serve earns Zverev his first service point, which he follows with a stunning forehand winner down the line and an unstoppable ace. He’s denied an eighth point in a row by an overlong forehand, an error he repeats to get Nadal back to 40-30. But Zverev’s pace and power are too much for Nadal in the next rally, and the German wraps up the hold.
First set: Nadal* 0-1 Zverev (*denotes server). Zverev breaks straight away. Nadal wins the first point after Zverev’s return loops off the net and beyond the baseline, and the second with a raking crosscourt forehand. Zverev responds with a fierce forehand winner after a lengthy rally, and outpoints him in the next one too to make it 30-all. He earns a break point after Nadal nets, and he converts it when Nadal hits long. Zverev’s height and strength are to the fore there, and Rafa’s up against it early on.
Nadal has to 6-3 winning record against Zverev, but the German has won three of their four most recent meetings, including one on clay in Madrid last year.
Out come the players. Huge cheers for Nadal, who emerges first, and a rather more restrained one for Zverev, but no boos. It’s properly chucking it down in Paris, and a small huddle of spectators are braving it out in ponchos on deckchairs at Roland Garros’s Henman Hill equivalent.
british interest in the wheelchair doubles final:
Talking of Coco Gauff, she’s only gone and reached the women’s doubles final too, she and Jessica Pegula beating Marion Keyes and Taylor Townsend 6-4, 7-6. The eighth-seeded American pair will play either Lyudmyla Kichenok and Jelena Ostapenko or Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic, who are currently in a deciding set, in the final.
In weather news, it’s raining in Paris. So Nadal and Zverev will face off under the roof on Philippe Chatrier.
And the Argentinian Gustavo Fernández and Shingo Kunieda of Japan are in the men’s wheelchair doubles final after beating the No2 seeds Stéphane Houdet and Nicolas Peifer.
Pre-match reading. Our man in Paris on Nadal’s ongoing love affair with Roland Garris:
And a profile of tomorrow’s teenage women’s finalist, by Caira Conner:
Afternoon everyone. And welcome to men’s semi-finals day. If the quarters were anything to go by, we’re going to be strapping in for a long ride. We kick off course with Rafael Nadal against alexander zverev, where we’ll get to see just how much that epic quarter-final win over Novak Djokovic has taken out of the Spaniard. If his fitness holds up, Nadal is well placed to claim that 14th Roland Garros title, and with Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz out of the way his chances may be strengthened. But Alcaraz’s conqueror, Zverev, will present a formidable challenge. He’s crept through this French Open slightly under the radar but his composed defeat of Alcaraz served notice of his threat from him.
After that, a resurgent Marin Cilic takes on the promising Norwegian Casper Ruud, who predicted he wouldn’t sleep until 4am after his four-set victory over Holger Rune. Assuming he’s rested up, he’ll pose a stern test to Cilic, who’s riding a crest of a wave after ousting Daniil Medvedev and seeing off Andrey Rublev in a magnificent quarter-final on Wednesday.
Should all be well worth hanging around for. Nadal v Zverev starts around 1.45pm BST.