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Roland-Garros: Rafael Nadal in the final after the retirement of Alexander Zverev due to injury

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Spaniard Rafael Nadal qualified for his 14th final at Roland-Garros on Friday after Alexander Zverev retired to injury. As the game was extremely close, the German violently twisted his ankle at the end of the second set and had to be evacuated from center court on a wheelchair.

Rafael Nadal will probably have mixed memories of this Roland-Garros semi-final. If the Mallorcan has again climbed to the final of the Parisian tournament, for the 14th time in his career, he owes his success to the terrible injury of his opponent, Alexander Zverev. The German’s ankle was violently twisted at the end of the second set, in the heart of a fiercely contested confrontation that had lasted for more than 3 hours. Rafael Nadal had won the first set 7-6 and had just come back to 6-6 in the second set.

In tears, Alexander Zverev had to be evacuated from the Philippe-Chatrier court on a wheelchair. A few moments later, the German returned to the court, on crutches, to the ovation of the public, to greet the referee and his opponent, Rafael Nadal.

“Seeing him cry in the locker room is a very difficult moment”

The Spaniard, 13 times winner on Parisian clay since 2005, will play his fourteenth final there on Sunday against the Norwegian Casper Ruud (8th) or the Croatian Marin Cilic (23rd), opposed in the second semi-final. “It’s very hard, I’m very sad for him,” reacted Nadal. “He was playing an amazing tournament, I know how much he fights to win a Grand Slam. He was really unlucky, but I’m sure in the future he will win, and not one, but many more.” “Of course, being in the final of Roland-Garros once again is a dream, but at the same time, that it ends like this, to see him cry in the locker room, it’s a very difficult moment,” he said. -he adds.

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Nadal, second oldest finalist at Roland

Qualified for the final on his 36th birthday, “Rafa” thus became the second oldest Roland-Garros finalist in history, after American Bill Tilden, 37 in 1930. Before Zverev’s injury, the two players were playing a marathon match: after just over three hours of play, they had not yet completed the second set. Each of the two sets lasted the time of a football match. The Mallorcan left-hander pocketed the first in a very hard fight, after facing four set points in a row in the decisive game (from 6-2 to 6-6).

The 25-year-old German had the best start to the game by breaking from the start and leading 4-2. But Nadal picked up, then got three first set points at 5 games to 4. In vain. The Spaniard ended up concluding on his sixth opportunity in the tie-break. In the equally contested second set, almost every service game resulted in breaks, and Zverev failed to finish when he served 5 games to 3 to tie it at one set all. “It was a super tough match, we had been playing for 3 hours and we hadn’t even finished the second set,” Nadal said. “It’s one of the biggest challenges on the circuit today to face him when he’s playing at this level.”

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