Rafael Nadal completes fightback to reach 11th French Open semifinal

Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates after winning his quarterfinal match against Argentina's Diego Schwartzman at the French Open. (REUTERS/Charles Platiau)
Updated 07 June 2018

Rafael Nadal completes fightback to reach 11th French Open semifinal

  • It is the 11th time the 32-year-old Spaniard has reached the French Open last four
  • Nadal will face Juan Martin del Potro, the fifth-seeded Argentine, in the semifinals

PARIS: Rafael Nadal continued his remarkable form at Roland Garros as he battled back from a set down to beat Argentine Diego Schwartzman 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 in their rain-interruped French Open quarterfinal on Thursday, edging closer to an 11th title in Paris.
The world number one was much-improved under the sunshine on Court Philippe Chatrier after finding life difficult in damp conditions the night before, finally seeing off dogged Schwartzman on his fourth match point.
Nadal will face Juan Martin del Potro, the fifth-seeded Argentine, in the semifinals.
“It was a very difficult match, Diego is a good friend and a good player,” said the 16-time Grand Slam champion.
“After the stop for rain I played more aggressively and I’m very happy to be back in the semifinals here.”
It is the 11th time the 32-year-old Spaniard has reached the French Open last four, becoming only the third man in history to achieve the feat at a Grand Slam tournament, after Jimmy Connors at the US Open and Roger Federer at Wimbledon and the Australian Open.
Nadal returned to the court midway through serving to level the match after bad weather ended play early on Wednesday evening.
The struggles he faced on Wednesday in losing a set at Roland Garros for the first time since 2015 were put to bed during the second day of the match, as he broke 11th seed Schwartzman’s serve four times in the final two sets to ease through.


Southgate to bring Sterling back from England exile

Updated 17 November 2019

Southgate to bring Sterling back from England exile

  • World Cup semifinalists ‘still have room for improvement as they chase first major title since 1966’

PRISTINA:  Gareth Southgate is set to bring Raheem Sterling back from his brief England exile in Sunday’s qualifier against Kosovo as he seeks to end the controversy over the Manchester City star’s row with Joe Gomez.

Sterling was dropped for Thursday’s 7-0 rout of Montenegro after clashing with England team-mate Gomez in the Three Lions’ training base canteen.

It is believed Sterling was unhappy with Gomez following an altercation with the Liverpool defender during City’s Premier League defeat at Anfield last weekend.

Although Sterling was left out of the Montenegro game as punishment for his attack on Gomez, Southgate has confirmed the winger will return for England’s final Group A fixture.

Sterling and Gomez, left with a scratch under his eye after the incident, are said to have patched up their relationship, but the center-back was jeered by England fans at Wembley when he came on as a substitute against Montenegro.

Both Southgate and Sterling expressed their support for Gomez and criticized the booing supporters, with the England manager reportedly comforting the shocked 22-year-old and his family after the match.

Now Southgate could include Gomez against Kosovo in a show of support for the Liverpool player.

With England already guaranteed to qualify for Euro 2020 in first place in their group, Southgate already planned to make changes, although he is keen to ensure England finish with a win as they eye a top-six seeding in next year’s tournament.

“We will make some changes, for sure, but the seeding in the group could be critical and we know it’s a big night for the Kosovans,” Southgate said.

“It’s a shame for them that they’re now out of this part of the qualification, although they’ve still got the playoffs in which I think they’ll be a huge threat in that format. “So, it will be a good test for us because it will still be a lively environment.

“The enthusiasm for the game is high and we want to finish the group with as many points as we can.”

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson could return following a one-match ban, while Southgate has to decide whether to keep faith with Ben Chilwell ahead of Danny Rose at left-back.

Harry Kane may have scored a hat-trick against Montenegro but it was Leicester’s Chilwell who was named England’s man of the match following a fine display in which he provided three assists in the opening 24 minutes.

“Ben, I liked the hunger in his game, the enthusiasm to get forward,” Southgate said.

“The whole team pressed well but he also pressed well from that full-back position, got into overlaps, his quality of delivery was excellent.”

Although England have cruised through their qualifying group, Southgate believes the 2018 World Cup semifinalists still have room for improvement as they chase a first major title since 1966.

“There were a couple of chances we conceded that just shouldn’t happen, so that’s still part of our game that we’ve got to improve upon,” he said.

“If we are to be a team that are going to challenge seriously, although we’re young, we’ve got to manage games well.

“We’ve got to make sure that, although we’re such a fantastic attacking threat, the rest of the team is right as well. There are things we’ve got to be better at.”