Nadal Overcomes Sinner, Sets Schwartzman QF In Paris
In a match marked by dramatic swings of momentum, it was the 13-time Roland Garros winner that stayed calm and maintained his momentum to take down 19-year-old Sinner in two hours and 20 minutes. Nadal improved to 3-0 in his ATP Head2Head against the 19-year-old, and to 50-5 against Italian players overall.
Nadal has now reached 15 quarter-finals at Roland Garros, the all-time joint-most alongside Djokovic, who also advanced on Sunday.
Most Roland Garros Men's Singles QF Appearances (All-Time)
The victory also maintains Nadal and Djokovic’s collision course to a semi-final clash, after all of the members of the Big Three including Roger Federer landed in the same half of a Grand Slam draw for the first time.
Nadal would have to first get past 10th seed Diego Schwartzman, who has also reached this stage without dropping a set after taking down Jan-Lennard Struff 7-6(9), 6-4, 7-5 earlier in the day. Nadal owns a 10-1 lead in their ATP Head2Head (5-1 on clay courts), and has won both of their previous meetings at Roland Garros, including last year’s semi-finals.
Nadal had to overcome an edgy start – and some early firepower from the #NextGenATP Italian on Chatrier. After going up 2-0, the Spaniard’s unforced errors, including his first of seven double faults, gave Sinner a way back in.
Big-hitting Sinner was outgunning Nadal in the early stages, his powerful forehand nearing 140 kph to Nadal’s 118 kph average, and he used it to great effect to keep Nadal on the back foot. Sinner stepped in to attack on the returns, earning another double fault to set up break point and converting for a 3-2 lead with a booming forehand that landed right at Nadal’s feet.
"I think I started the first two games playing great," Nadal said. "Then I had a bad game with 2-0 and with the wind helping, so that was a big mistake. Then I started to play too much against his backhand and too far from the baseline.
"I gave him the chance to be inside the court and to have control of the point from inside. From that position he's dangerous. I was a little bit farther every time from the baseline."
But with Sinner ahead 5-3, Nadal changed tactics and began to take the pace off his shots. He reeled off the next 13 of 15 points – including 10 in a row to break the Italian as he served for the set at 5-4. The Italian struggled to find first serves in a game punctuated by a double fault as Nadal took back control.
"From that moment [at 4-5 in the first set] to 7-5, 4-0 [in the second] I think I played a very good level of tennis," Nadal said. "Then again, [I made a] couple of mistakes and he played well, honestly. [From] 4-3 until that moment to the end of the match, I think I played great."
Nadal opened up the second set with a daunting 4-0 lead, before Sinner snapped the run of eight games in a row with a three-game run of his own. Sinner, who had been playing passively since the end of the first set, found his firepower once again to break Nadal twice and get back on serve at 4-3.
But once again, Nadal didn't panic. The Spaniard took back the lead with a break at 5-4, and began another masterclass streak of eight games in a row. Sinner never regained his footing as Nadal dominated the third set to pick up his 104th victory at Roland Garros.
Sinner, who reached the quarter-finals here last year for his best Grand Slam result (l. Nadal), was aiming for his first victory over a Top 5 player in the FedEx ATP Rankings. He was also aiming to become the first Italian man since 1980 to reach multiple quarter-finals in Paris, and the third in the Open Era after Adriano Panatta (1972-73, 1975-77) and Corrado Barazzutti (1978, 1980).
Did You Know?
Nadal has won the last 35 sets he has contested at Roland Garros, a streak dating back to 2019. Bjorn Borg holds the record for most consecutive sets won at a Grand Slam event in the Open Era, having won 41 in a row in 1979-81. Nadal has also previously won 38 consecutive sets at Roland Garros in 2016-18.