New Delhi: Rafael Nadal Friday advanced to the French Open men’s final after his semifinal opponent Alexander Zverev stopped playing because of a right ankle injury and withdrew at 6-7 (8), 6-6. Nadal, playing the semi-final on his 36th birthday, now has an opportunity to become the oldest champion at French Open, a tournament he has won already record 13 times – and never lost it. A tearful Zverev was screaming in pain as he left the clay court in a wheelchair with help of medics after the horrific leg injury. He was in excruciating pain and there was no possible way for the German third seed to continue playing after suffering an ankle twist at such great force.
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Minutes later, the 25-year-old returned to the court on crutches and conceded the match.
“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 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.
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“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 added: “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, chasing a record-extending 22nd Grand Slam title, will play either Marin Cilic or Casper Ruud in Sunday’s final.
(With AFP Inputs)