The Spaniard defeated 19-year-old Sinner 7-6 (7-4), 6-4, 6-1 at temperatures around 10 degrees Celsius and ended in the early hours of the Paris morning. The last finish ever at Roland Garros.
And although the 12-time French Open winner acknowledged that finishing the game early that morning was a challenge, Nadal’s main problem was the low temperatures.
“Of course it’s not an ideal ending, a game at 1.30 in the morning,” Nadal told the media after his victory.
“But the problem is the weather. The weather … it’s too cold to play tennis. I know soccer players do it all the time but they keep moving while we are tennis players, we stop, we come back, there is the switch. ”
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Nadal and Sinner’s quarter-final game began at 10:36 p.m. local time after four games had been played on Court Philippe-Chatrier before them.
Although late starts are not uncommon at other tennis grand slams such as the US and Australian Open, those tournaments are played in the summer while this year’s French Open has been postponed from its usual place on the tennis calendar from May to June due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“I really don’t know why you played five games on the Chatrier today. That was a risk, ”said Nadal.
“I saw immediately yesterday when they sent me the schedule because there is a chance there would be a couple of long games. That happened. A bit of bad luck, of course.
“For me, I was just trying to be patient, accept everything, and be in a positive mood. I did this.”
Nadal is aiming for his 13th French Open and 20th Grand Slam title, which corresponds to Roger Federer’s record.
Before this French Open, world number 2 Nadal had complained about the new balls and the cold weather, which made the courts heavier and negated the large amounts of spin that he was so used to exploiting on clay courts.
However, according to the ATP statistics, Nadal has become more effective as the rallies get longer due to the lack of spin as he wins over 65% of the rallies with more than four shots.
The win over the Italian sinner was Nadal’s 100th game at Roland Garros. He is now 98-2 at the Clay Grand Slam.
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Sinner was three years old when Nadal won the Coupe des Mousquetaires for the first time – and the 19-year-old brought the positive results from his run to the quarter-finals, in which he won the eleventh seed David Goffin and the US Open finalist Alexander Zverev defeated.
“I am a person who does not look to the future or the past, always to the present. It is nice to hear. In the end you have to show everything. I haven’t won anything so far. OK NextGen (finals) it’s a tournament. In the end I didn’t win anything, “said Sinner.
“It’s just about improving and playing on the pitch for hours, which I have to do. I have a great team behind me. We’ll see where I am in 12 months. ”
With his win, Nadal set up a semi-final with Diego Schwartzman, who beat Nadal in Rome last month.
Schwartzman reached his first Grand Slam semi-final thanks to a five-hour thriller with five sets against US Open champion Dominic Thiem.