Nadal into 14th French Open final due to an INJURED Achilles
As he chased down the ball in front of the players’ boxes on Court Philippe Chatrier, Alexander Zverev hurt his ankle and had to leave the court in a wheelchair.
At the time of his horror injury, Alexander ZVEREV was trailing 7-6 (10/8), 6-6 in more than three hours of play.
As his piercing wails of agony reverberated throughout the 15,000-seat court, a sobbing Zverev was assisted by paramedics off the court.
The 25-year-old Spaniard walked back out on crutches 30 minutes later, and he conceded the match with a hug from Nadal. The man was injured and had to leave the game.
“It’s very tough and very sad for him. He was playing an unbelievable tournament and he’s a very good colleague on the tour,” said 13-time champion Nadal.
“I know how much he’s fighting to win a Grand Slam. For the moment, he was very unlucky. I’m sure he’ll win not one, but much more than one. I wish him all the best.
“It had been a super tough match. Over three hours and we didn’t even finish the second set. It’s one of the biggest challenges on the tour when he’s playing like he did today.”
He said “For me, to be in the final of Roland Garros is a dream, without a doubt, but at the same time, for it to finish that way… I have been there in the small room with Sascha and to see him crying like that — I wish him all the best.”
Nadal, who is trying to win his 22nd Grand Slam title, will play either Marin Cilic or Casper Ruud in Sunday’s final.
Zverev was pushing Nadal all the way until the dramatic finale of the match. Zverev broke in the first game of the 91-minute set, but Nadal leveled at 4-4.
The German’s all-or-nothing hitting kept the Spaniard, dripping with sweat under the closed roof, from sweeping in three set points in the 10th game.
Nadal, who turns 36 on Friday, saved four set points in a knife-edge tiebreak, one of them off a spectacular running crosscourt forehand that featured an awkward bounce.
On a sixth set point, he blasted a scorching forehand pass to take the first.
Alexander Zverev, who was in the semi-finals at Roland Garros for the second year in a row, compiled 25 winners and 26 unforced errors.
The second set was characterized by eight service breaks. Nadal broke for 2-1 on the back of a lengthy 44-shot rally when he served.
Nadal becomes the second-oldest player to reach the Paris final, behind Bill Tilden. Tilden finished second in 1930 at the age of 37.
At the French Open, Nadal extended his record at Roland Garros to 111 wins and just three losses, defeating world number one and defending champion Novak Djokovic in the quarter-finals.
He will be the oldest champion if he wins on Sunday. He will surpass his 34-year-old countryman Andres Gimeno who won in 1972.
Nadal is uncertain.
Despite his own doubts about his long-term prospects in tennis, Nadal has reached the 30th Grand Slam final.
He has been forced to acknowledge that any match may be the last of his record-breaking French Open career as a result of a persistent left foot ailment.
It took him 16 matches to win the tournament. He needed four hours and forty-two minutes to beat Felix Auger-Aliassime in five sets. Then he needed four more hours to beat Novak Djokovic in four sets.
In the other semi-final, Marin Cilic is playing Ruud in a battle of first-time Roland Garros semi-finalists.