Despite a slight hiccup, Rafael Nadal is still the King of Clay at Roland Garros.
For the first time at this year’s French Open, the 28-year-old Spanish tennis star, an eight-time champion at the tournament, dropped a set during his quarterfinal match.
His opponent: David Ferrer, who was not only the runner-up to Nadal at Roland Garros a year ago, but he also beat Nadal on red clay the last time they played each other.
And even though he lost the first set, Nadal rallied to come back and beat Ferrer 4-6, 6-4, 6-0, 6-1, setting up a semifinal Friday against Wimbledon champion Andy Murray.
“At the beginning,” Nadal acknowledged, “David was playing with a higher intensity than me.”
But once Nadal made a key adjustment, deciding to dispense with backhands and hit forehands as much as possible, he took over. After committing 28 unforced errors across the first two sets, Nadal had zero in the third and only three in the last.
Ferrer, for his part, said that in the latter stages, “I lost my concentration, my focus.”
It was Nadal’s 33rd consecutive win at the French Open, improving his record at Roland Garros to 64-1.