Nadal reaches 14th French Open final following Zverev freak injury

Alexander Zverev couldn't continue at the end of the second set and had to retire
Nadal reaches 14th French Open final following Zverev freak injury

All-time tennis great Rafael Nadal reached the 14th French Open final of his career on Friday after his last four opponent Alexander Zverev had to retire late in the second set.

The Spanish veteran somehow managed to clinch an epic 91-minute first set against his German foe via a tie breaker.

At 6-6, the second set was due to be settled in same manner until Zverev lunged to force Nadal into firing off a volley and then hit his next shot in return wide while screaming out in pain. Covered in clay, a distressed Zverev managed to get to his feet but had to be helped into a wheelchair before being rolled off the court.

Television replays showed how the 25-year-old born to Russian parents in Hamburg had gone over on his ankle.

Around 10 minutes later, the world number three returned to the court on crutches and used one of each to bid farewell to the crowd while retiring and embracing Nadal.

Commenting on the turn of events immediately after, Nadal said that it was "very tough" for Zverev and that he was honestly "very sad for him" which led to restrained celebrations in reaching a "dream" final at Roland Garros once more.

"He was playing an unbelievable tournament," Nadal added. "To see him crying there is a very tough moment. All the best to him."

Some were left to ponder whether Nadal, who has injury niggles of his own with a persistent foot complaint, would have eventually been beaten in a five set match by a man 11 years his junior on the day he celebrated his 36th birthday.

The stats sway towards 'King of Clay' Nadal's favor in this respect, however, with it later explained that he has contested 138 fifth sets on the surface and won 135 of them.

On Sunday, there are now just another five sets that stand in the way of Nadal winning a 14th crown at Roland Garros and moving two in front of quarter-final foe and generational rival Novak Djokovic's all-time grand slam haul of 20.

Later on Friday, Nadal can find out who will be on the other side of the ball in the last dance as Casper Ruud and Marin Cilic meet in the competition's other semi-final.

Original Article