Rafael Nadal, chasing a record-extending 14th French Open title, takes on a charged up Alexander Zverev in the first semifinal on the Philippe-Chatrier Court at Roland Garros on Friday.

Fifth-seeded Spaniard Nadal, who turns 36 on Friday, comes into the final four clash after a gruelling four-set win over world number one Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinal in what was the duo’s 59th career meeting. On the other hand, Zverev is high on confidence after knocking out Nadal’s compatriot and teenage sensation Carlos Alcaraz in four sets in his last eight match.


  Rafael Nadal Alexander Zverev
1st round beat Jordan Thompson (AUS) 6-2, 6-2, 6-2 beat Sebastian Ofner (AUT) 6-2, 6-4, 6-4
2nd round beat Corentin Moutet (FRA) 6-3, 6-1, 6-4 beat Sebastian Baez (ARG) 2-6, 4-6, 6-1, 6-2, 7-5
3rd round beat Botic Van De Zandschulp (NED) 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 beat Brandon Nakashima (USA) 7-6 (2), 6-3, 7-6 (5)
4th round beat Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN) 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 beat Bernabe Zapata Miralles (ESP) 7-6 (11), 7-5, 6-3
Quarterfinal beat Novak Djokovic (SRB) 6-2, 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (4) beat Carlos Alcaraz (ESP) 6-4, 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (7)


For the Spaniard, who is a 21-time Major winner, the latest of which came at this year’s Australian Open, this could be the final appearance at a Grand Slam which has earned him the sobriquet ‘King of Clay’. Nadal continues to suffer from a chronic left foot injury that has bothered him for years. The pain reappeared during last year’s semifinal loss to Djokovic, only his third ever defeat at Roland Garros, and ultimately forced him to sit out the second half of the season. He also had a rib injury during his semifinal against Alcaraz at this year’s Indian Wells Masters. Nadal lost to local favourite Taylor Fritz in the final, ending his 20-match unbeaten start to the season, and didn’t play another professional tennis match for six weeks.

Nadal beats Djokovic, faces Zverev in French Open semifinals

Nadal, who has his personal doctor with him at the French Open this time for the foot issue, said: “I am putting everything that I have to try to play this tournament with the best conditions possible, no? I don’t know what can happen after, honestly.”

When a reporter wanted to know how thoughts about his future affect him, Nadal replied: “I don’t know what’s going to happen after here. I mean, I have what I have there in the foot, so if we are not able to find an improvement or a small solution on that, then it’s becoming super difficult for me.”

As far as Zverev is concerned, the third-seeded German is still looking for his maiden Grand Slam title after a heartbreaking loss in five sets to Austrian Dominic Thiem in the 2020 US Open final. Zverev has since won an Olympic gold and continues to stay in the top 10 but his record at Grand Slams has not justified his talent. He was subjected to a demoralising straight sets defeat by Canadian Denis Shapovalov in the fourth round of the 2022 Australian Open. He finally got his first win against a top 10 player at a Major by beating Alcaraz on Tuesday.

Zverev has not won a single title this year. He was thrown out of the Mexico Open for violently hitting the chair umpire’s stand repeatedly with his racket following a loss in doubles and is on a one-year probation for the same. The 25-year-old is also under investigation by the ATP after being accused of abuse by his former girlfriend.


Records on offer (courtesy ATP)

In case Nadal wins,

  • He will be the second-oldest men’s singles finalist in tournament history (since 1925)
  • He improves his win-loss record in French Open matches played on his birthday to 7-1 (the only loss came against Djokovic in the quarterfinals in 2015)

In case Zverev wins,

  • He will be the second German man to reach Roland Garros final in Open Era, joining 1996 runner-up Michael Stich
  • He will rise to a career-high No. 2 in the ATP Rankings

Time spent on court across five rounds

Zverev: 14 hours 16 minutes

Nadal: 14 hours 55 minutes

(With inputs from AP)



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