Since the start of the Open era, only 12 players have reached 15 Major semi-finals. Rafael Nadal is third on the list behind Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic with 35, standing strong for 17 seasons since playing the first one at Roland Garros 2005!
The Spaniard claimed the first Major title on debut in Paris 16 years ago, earning tennis glory a couple of days after turning 19. Outside two loose seasons due to injuries, Nadal has been a regular competitor in the latter stages at Majors, playing on a high level one season after another and securing 15 different with at least one Major final!
Achieving that feat in 15 of the previous 17 years, Nadal became only the third player on that list after Roger Federer and Andre Agassi. Federer has played in one Major semi-final in 18 different seasons, followed by Nadal and Agassi, who stand on 15.
Rafa’s beloved Major has helped him greatly on that task, as the Spaniard played in 14 semi-finals in Paris. Nadal kicked off his 17th Roland Garros campaign with a 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 triumph over Alexei Popyrin, playing well in the opening two sets before falling 5-2 behind in the third.
Rafa saved two set points and erased the deficit to prevail in the tie break and move into the next round. Facing Richard Gasquet for the 17th time, Rafa scored the 17th win over his coeval after standing strong in sets one and three.
Rafael Nadal became the third player with a Major semi-final in 15 different years.
Gasquet fought back in the second, but it wasn’t enough to reach the tie break and extend his chances. In his shortest match of this year’s Roland Garros campaign so far, Nadal ousted Cameron Norrie 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 to find himself in the last 16 for the 16th time in Paris.
Rafa lost serve twice in a row in the second set and erased that deficit quickly with a strong performance on the return, taking almost half of the return points and securing six breaks from 12 opportunities. The Spaniard had the upper hand in the shortest and most extended exchanges and fired nearly 30 winners to rule the court.
In the fourth round, Rafa took down Jannik Sinner 7-5, 6-3 6-0 after overcoming a deficit in the opener, never looking back to race past the youngster for the second straight year in Paris. In the quarters, Nadal battled past Diego Schwartzman 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-0, losing a set in Paris for the first time in two years before winning the final nine games to storm over the opponent and advance into the semis where he plays against Novak Djokovic.