Spain’s Rafael Nadal outplayed a determined Diego Schwartzman of Argentina 6/3; 6/3; 7/6(0) to take a step further in his bid for 13th title in Paris.

In the toss up, Diego called Head but Nadal won the toss and elected to serve. The first game was a 14-minute marathon in which Nadal saved 3 break points before he won on his fourth opportunity. It set the pattern for the match that featured many long rallies that Diego won a greater percentage. Diego dropped his serves in the second and fourth games to trail 1-3 and the gap remained steady till Nadal clinched the set 6/3 in 64 minutes.

Nadal broke Diego’s serve in the third game of the second set and held on to the lead for 6/3. Nadal tallied 28 points to his opponent’s 21 for the set. Diego faced three break points in the fourth game of the third set when the umpire overruled his challenge. After the argument, he hit a backhand shot way off the side line for the break but he broke Nadal to reduce the tally. The two players lost their serves in the sixth and seventh games but Diego held to 4-4 and held the tenth and twelfth games to take the set into the tie breaker in which Nadal took seven straight points to win the set and match. The brutal duel lasted 3 hours and 10 minutes.

Nadal will play the winner of the other semi-finals between Serbia’s Novak Djokovic and Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece.

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