Nadal in trouble, Sharapova shattered

Spain's Rafael Nadal
Spain's Rafael Nadal
Image: Paul Crock / AFP

Rafael Nadal was locked in a French Open quarterfinal tussle with Argentine Diego Schwartzman when rain ended play yesterday, after Garbine Muguruza thrashed Maria Sharapova to reach a last-four showdown with top seed Simona Halep.

World number one Nadal lost his first set at Roland Garros in three years, and when bad weather first interrupted the match the 10-time champion was in serious trouble with Schwartzman up a break in the second.

The players briefly returned to the court, giving the 32-year-old Spaniard enough time to reel off three straight games, but it rained again, forcing the game to be suspended.

The match will resume today with Schwartzman leading 6-4 3-5 (15-30).

The winner of the match will play either third seed Marin Cilic or Schwartzman’s compatriot Juan Martin del Potro.

Nadal had won 37 consecutive sets at Roland Garros since his 2015 quarterfinal defeat by Novak Djokovic, but dropped serve three times to the enterprising Schwartzman in an exciting opener.

Nadal made 14 unforced errors and struck just four winners in a poor first set, before having both of his wrists strapped by his trainer.
Muguruza condemned Sharapova to her heaviest Grand Slam defeat in more than six years and will face Halep for a place in the final against either Sloane Stephens or Madison Keys.

The Spanish third seed, who was the champion in Paris in 2016, swept aside the Russian 6-2 6-1 in just an hour and 10 minutes.

Her semifinal with Halep will also decide the world number one spot next week.

Current number one Halep made the semifinals for the third time by battling past Germany’s Angelique Kerber 6-7 (2/7) 6-3 6-2.

Sharapova, playing at Roland Garros for the first time since 2015, suffered her most onesided defeat since a 6-3 6-0 loss to Victoria Azarenka in the 2012 Australian Open final.

“I am very pleased to be in another final in Paris,” Muguruza said. She is yet to drop a set in the tournament and claimed her first win over Sharapova in four meetings.

“I was up against a great player so I had to make sure I brought my best tennis.” – AFP