Nadal reaches 13th French Open final, will face Djokovic in bid to tie Grand Slam record
Rafael Nadal moved within one win of a record-equalling 20th Grand Slam title by reaching the French Open final with a comfortable 6-3 6-3 7-6(0) victory over Diego Schwartzman on Friday. He will face world number one Novak Djokovic in a high-stakes final on Sunday.
Nadal was beaten by the 12th seeded Schwartzman a little over two weeks ago on the claycourts in Rome but the 12-time French Open champion showed he was still the undisputed king of Roland Garros as he notched up a 10th win in 11 meetings over the Argentine.
A victory on Sunday for the 34-year-old left-hander would tie him with Roger Federer's men's singles record of 20 major titles.
The Spaniard reached his 13th French Open final without dropping a set in this year's edition.
Schwartzman, playing his first Grand Slam semi-final, had two breakpoints in the opening game but Nadal saved both to win the game after battling for 14 minutes.
The Spaniard went on to break the Argentine twice in each of the first two sets.
The duo traded double service breaks in the third set before Nadal aced the tiebreak without losing a point. Schwartzman found the net with a return to hand Nadal victory in three hours and nine minutes.
Djokovic, for his part, set up a blockbuster French Open title showdown with Nadal after a dramatic five-set semi-final victory on Friday evening over Greek star Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Djokovic, the 2016 champion at Roland Garros, reached his fifth final in Paris, defeating fifth seed Tsitsipas 6-3, 6-2, 5-7, 4-6, 6-1 in a roller-coaster of a match where he had a match point in the third set.
On Sunday, Djokovic can win an 18th major and become the first man in half a century to win all four Slams twice.
He is one of only two men to have defeated Nadal at Roland Garros in 15 years.
(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS and AFP)
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