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Nadal thrashes Nishikori to set up Federer showdown

By Opta
RafaelNadal - cropped

Paris, June 4: Defending champion Rafael Nadal sent a clear message to his French Open rivals as he dismantled Kei Nishikori to seal a semi-final showdown with Roger Federer.

Chasing his 12th title in Paris, the world number two made ludicrously light work of the usually dangerous Nishikori, who appeared to be nursing an injury at the end of the second set.

Nadal showed no mercy as he went after his opponent time and again for his most impressive, dominant win of the tournament so far.

A rain delay frustrated Nadal in the third set, yet he breezed through 6-1 6-1 6-3 when play restarted.

Federer awaits Nadal in the last four after seeing off compatriot Stan Wawrinka, but even he is likely to fear the favourite in this form.

Nadal was relentless from the off and broke Nishikori in his opening service game before applying further pressure and seeing the Japanese send a tired backhand into the net.

A highly motivated Nadal served out the opener inside 35 minutes and did not let his energy levels drop in the opening game of the second, breaking to love thanks to Nishikori's sloppiness.

There was finally a response as Nishikori went on the offensive to forge a couple of opportunities of his own and break back, only to again lash into the net to slip behind once more.

A bemused Nishikori simply could not live with Nadal, the struggling seventh seed twice more dropping serve before going long to conclude another swift set.

Having called his trainer before returning to the court, Nishikori created and squandered four break points at the start of the third as any hope of taking this match the distance soon dissipated.

Although Nishikori battled back to hold the next game, only the threat of rain looked like it might hinder Nadal's progress.

The seemingly decisive break arrived with a Nishikori mishit and Nadal, aware of the looming grey clouds, raced towards the finish, only to be frustrated as the weather saw play suspended.

An hour-long delay could not save Nishikori, though, as his outstanding opponent quickly wrapped up victory.

STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN Rafael Nadal bt Kei Nishikori 6-1 6-1 6-3

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS Nadal - 29/22 Nishikori - 17/30

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS Nadal - 3/3 Nishikori - 2/1

BREAK POINTS WON Nadal - 7/11 Nishikori - 1/5

FIRST SERVE PERCENTAGE Nadal - 72 Nishikori - 72


TOTAL POINTS Nadal - 88 Nishikori - 55

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Story first published: Tuesday, June 4, 2019, 22:40 [IST]
Other articles published on Jun 4, 2019
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