‘Unexpected level’ – Nadal on his performance after beating Djokovic
Follow for live updates as Rafael Nadal takes on Alexander Zverev for a place in the French Open final on what is set to be another blockbuster day of action at Roland Garros. Nadal has had two days to recover from his momentous and epic victory over his great rival Novak Djokovic in Tuesday’s quarter-final, with the 13-time French Open champion sealing the four-set win at 1.15am local time.
Nadal has admitted that this could be his last French Open due to his chronic foot injury and the Spaniard, who turns 36 today, faces another seismic challenge against Zverev. The German defeated rising star Carlos Alcaraz in what was another thrilling quarter-final upset, and was perhaps the best win of the 25-year-old’s grand slam career as he seeks to win his first major.
After playing in the night session on Tuesday on Court Philippe-Chatrier, Nadal is back to his preferred afternoon slot for the first of two men’s semi-finals today. Later on, Marin Cilic will look to advance to the fourth grand slam final of his career and continue his unlikely journey at this year’s French Open. The Croatian had not progressed further than the fourth round of a slam since 2018 and will take on the Norwegian Casper Ruud who is aiming to reach a grand slam final for the first time in his career.
Follow for live scores and updates from Rafael Nadal vs Alexander Zverev, below:
*Nadal 7-6, Zverev 5-6
We’ve reached three hours of play, as Nadal finds himself with two game points to take this into a tiebreak…
Oh no! Zverev has taken a really bad fall here. He’s crying out in pain and is holding his right ankle.
They’ve called for a wheelchair – this match looks over.
Zverev has rolled his right ankle as he slid to return a forehand. I imagine there might have been a loud pop.
Jamie Braidwood3 June 2022 17:10
*Nadal 7-6, Zverev 5-6
Now, some quality. Nadal, fresh off his hold of serve, pings a winner into the corner to move 0-30 on the Zverev serve. But the German hits back, with a backhand down the line taking him to 30-30. A big serve up the middle is followed by a smash, and a roar, as he puts the pressure on Nadal to hold serve and force a second tiebreak.
Jamie Braidwood3 June 2022 17:03
Nadal 7-6, 5-5 Zverev* – Nadal holds
Nadal picks an awful time to throw in his double fault of the match, as Zverev moves 0-30 and two points away from the set.
Nadal, remember, has still not held serve in this set and puts away a simple smash at the net to get back to 15-30. Zverev then hands Nadal a gift with a loose backhand that goes long.
Zverev blinks again with the overhead after Nadal scrambled to keep the point alive, hanging it up into the sky
A chance now for the elusive hold – and as he rushes into the net and puts away the backhand volley he takes it! We are level at 5-5!
As he raises his arms, has Nadal ever celebrated a hold of serve like that before?
Jamie BraidwoodJune 3, 2022 16:56
*Nadal 7-6, 4-5 Zverev – Nadal breaks!
Zverev yells out after double faulting on the first point of a crucial service game. The umpire gives him a warning, which sparks Zverev to approach him in anger. “I don’t not say that,” he insists. I think the umpire thought he swore in English.
He reacts put winning the next couple of points, but another double fault from Zverev brings up a nerve point at 30-30. The next second serve trundles over the net and Nadal attacks, as Zverev drifts a shot long.
Break point Nadal – and would you believe it, another double fault from the World No 1 chucks the service game away. You can’t really afford three double faults in any match at any level, let alone as you are serving for the second set of a grand slam semi-final.
Jamie BraidwoodJune 3, 2022 16:49
Nadal 7-6, 3-5 Zverev* – Zverev breaks!
Unbelievable. At 30-30 and with Nadal scampering around the court as if he’s rediscovered his energy from him, the Spaniard misses on a simple overhead and then nets on a forehand. A remarkable series of errors from Nadal.
Another break from Zverev and he is now a hold of serve away from the second set.
Jamie BraidwoodJune 3, 2022 16:44
*Nadal 7-6, 3-4 Zverev – Nadal breaks!
Ok, nope, don’t ever get ahead of yourself. From a position of relative comfort in this second set and Nadal on the ropes, Zverev wobbles and throws in a double fault on break point. It brings Nadal back into it, just, but this is turning out to be a proper slog.
Now, can Nadal hold serve for the first time since 6-5 in the opener? That was about one hour and 10 minutes ago.
Jamie Braidwood3 June 2022 16:37
Nadal 7-6, 2-4 Zverev* – Zverev breaks!
More tension, more anxiety, but you can say with a little more assurance now that Nadal’s level has slipped quite a bit in this second set. Zverev breaks his serve for the third time in this set and crucially, after his hold of serve, it moves him 4-2 ahead.
We’ve played a set and a half in two and a half hours.
Jamie Braidwood3 June 2022 16:34
*Nadal 7-6, 2-3 Zverev – Zverev holds!
It seems we’re back in the Nadal-Djokovic twilight pendulum zone where you can’t allow yourself to get even two points ahead of yourself. Zverev marched into a 30-0 and it looked as if Nadal was struggling. Then Zverev chucks a couple of forehands long and Nadal finds himself with break point at 30-40.
Zverev saves it, crushing a backhand pass onto the line. He steps it up on the first serve but then clips the net with a forehand as the game swings back to deuce. Nadal brings his opponent in with a drop shot but a sliding Zverev connects with the passing winner. But then Zverev nets and anxiety goes on.
An ace and then backhand winner Zverev seals the hold in a blink of an eye, breaking the streak of four games without one. But don’t get too ahead of yourself.
Jamie BraidwoodJune 3, 2022 16:18
Nadal 7-6, 2-2 Zverev* – Zverev breaks back!
What is going on in this set! After a scrappy first few points Nadal misses with the forehand crosscourt and Zverev finds himself with two more break points. He can’t switch it back on, and another forehand miss sees Zverev break straight back.
Jamie Braidwood3 June 2022 16:11
*Nadal 7-6, 2-1 Zverev – Nadal breaks!
Nadal wins his fifth and then sixth points in a row on Zverev’s serve to quickly move to 0-30, before Zverev responds and then lands a stunning forehand winner onto the corner to get level at 30-30.
Zverev then plays a loose one on his backhand side, but saves the break point after Nadal sets up the forehand smash cross court.
Deuce, but Nadal quickly gets another break point as Zverev goes for the serve and volley but chucks it into the net after Nadal went for his feet.
And what an incredible rally that was! Both players hanging on, slugging it into the corners, keeping it in play. 44 shots later Zverev goes for the crosscourt with his backhand, but it drops an inch wide!
Amazing. Nadal breaks again.
Jamie BraidwoodJune 3, 2022 16:04