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French Open roundup: Rafael Nadal drops set but progresses to semi-finals

French Open roundup: Rafael Nadal drops set but progresses to semi-finals
© Reuters
The story of the 11th day of action at the French Open.

Rafael Nadal dropped his first set at Roland Garros since the 2019 final but found a champions' reaction to defeat Diego Schwartzman and reach the last four for a 14th time.

There he will face perennial rival Novak Djokovic, who had a wobble against Matteo Berrettini but greeted his 6-3 6-2 6-7 (5) 7-5 victory with a stream of emotional roars towards his support camp.

Defending champion Iga Swiatek's exit from the women's draw ensured a highly unexpected final four, with the Pole beaten by Maria Sakkari and Barbora Krejcikova the victor over Coco Gauff.

Picture of the day

Rafael Nadal casts a celebratory shadow
Rafael Nadal casts a celebratory shadow (Thibault Camus/AP)

It's all Greek in Paris

Greece only had two players in the singles draws at Roland Garros yet it is the only country with two semi-finalists in Sakkari and Stefanos Tsitsipas, who are already the best in their nation's history.

"Now it's probably the biggest sport these days," said Sakkari with a smile. "Football is over. Basketball is over. So tennis is in the spotlight. We've known each other since a very young age. I'm very, very happy for him and his family. It's very exciting times for Greek tennis."

Atmosphere ramps up

Up to 5,000 spectators were allowed into Court Philippe Chatrier
Up to 5,000 spectators were allowed into Court Philippe Chatrier (Thibault Camus/AP)

The easing of Paris' coronavirus restrictions meant significant changes. The fan capacity for Court Philippe Chatrier was increased to 5,000, with 13,146 across the grounds, while spectators were allowed to attend the night session for the first time – although not, as it turned out, all of it.

Access to Roland Garros was conditional on spectators showing either a negative Covid test, proof of full vaccination or evidence of a recent historic infection. Organisers said the admission process had gone "remarkably smoothly", with 97 per cent of fans arriving with a valid health pass.

Borg out

Leo Borg, who bears a striking resemblance to his father, was beaten in the boys' singles
Leo Borg, who bears a striking resemblance to his father, was beaten in the boys' singles (Thibault Camus/AP)

Bjorn Borg is reportedly arriving at Roland Garros on Thursday but unfortunately that is a day too late to see son Leo in action. The 18-year-old lost a very tight three-setter to Chinese top seed Shang Juncheng in the third round of the boys' singles.

Fallen seeds

Women: Iga Swiatek (8), Coco Gauff (24)
Men: Matteo Berrettini (9), Diego Schwartzman (10)

Who's up next?

The women's semi-finals take centre stage at Roland Garros on Thursday.

Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova takes on Slovenian Tamara Zidansek in the first match before Sakkari meets Krejcikova.

Before the semi-finals, Joe Salisbury will try to become the first British player for 39 years to lift one of the major titles at the French Open when he and American Desirae Krawczyk take on Russians Elena Vesnina and Aslan Karatsev in the mixed doubles final.

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Rafael Nadal pictured at the French Open on June 1, 2021
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Today's Olympic highlights header

Sunday's key events

· Wave conditions permitting, surfing will make its Olympic debut (11pm-8.20am)

· Another debutant sport at this Olympics, most eyes will be on American Nyjah Huston in the men's street contest as he looks to add Olympic gold to his four world titles and 12 X-Games golds. (12.30am-5am)

· History beckons for Jade Jones as she looks to become a three-time Olympic champion - something never done before in the sport prior to these Games (2am-1.45pm)
· Team GB's Bradly Sinden - world champion two years ago - is also going for gold in the men's -68kg category (2am-1.45pm)

· Already-legendary gymnast Simone Biles makes her first appearance of the Games in the women's qualifying event (2am-2pm)

· The first swimming medals of the Games will be dished out, with home favourite Daiya Seto going for gold in the men's 400m individual medley (2.30am-4.20am)

· Lizzie Deignan is among the Team GB team looking for success in the women's road race (5am-9.30am)

· Reigning two-time Olympic champion Andy Murray starts his title defence against Canadian hotshot Felix Auger-Aliassime (7am approx.)

> Today's schedule in full
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