Rafael Nadal of Spain returns a shot during the men's quarterfinal against his compatriot Pablo Carreno Busta at the French Open Tennis Tournament 2017 in Paris, France, on June 7, 2017. Due to an injury of Pablo Carreno Busta at the second set, Rafael Nadal advanced to the semifinal. (Xinhua/Jean-Marie Hervio)
PARIS, June 7 (Xinhua) -- The No. 4 seed Rafael Nadal moved a step closer to his 10th success at Roland Garros as his fellow Spanish Pablo Carreno Busta withdrew due to an injury after 51 minutes of play in the quarterfinals here on Wednesday.
However, it was not an ideal way for Nadal to advance on his friend's withdrawal.
"Obviously it was not the perfect way and especially against a good friend," he said. "Sorry for him. He was playing great. He had a great event. Overall, I think he will be positive about what happened here, and that's important for him, for now, but at the same time for the future."
Nadal will meet Dominic Thiem in the semifinals, as the Austrian promising star shocked defending champion Novak Djokovic in three straight sets.
Nadal met little resistence from his Spanish compatriot in their fourth duel although he was broken twice in the third and seventh games of the 32-minute opening set.
The 20th-seeded Busta retired when Nadal was leading 6-2, 2-0. The "King of Clay" is now 22-1 on clay this year.
"I felt when I served with 5-2 (in the first set). I tried to continue, but I preferred to stop because I felt the pain all the time," revealed Busta.
"The only way to try to be in the final is to play my best, and that's what I'm looking for," said Nadal.
However, he didn't expect Djokovic to stand in front of him, as the titleholder displayed lackluster performance in a 7-6 (5), 6-3, 6-0 loss to the sixth-seeded Thiem.
After losing the tiebreak in the first set, Djokovic's hitting quality and mentality was downgraded with the match going on. Thiem avenged his recnt loss to Djokovic in the semifinals in Rome with a total of 38 winners despite 28 unforced errors, while the Serbian only had 18 winners against 35 unforced errors.
"It's hard to comment on the third set. Obviously nothing was going in my way and everything in his way. Just a pretty bad set," said Djokovic.
"It was decided in the first set. I tried. I lost that crucial break in the beginning of the second, and he started to serve better. He deserved to win, and he was definitely the better player on the court today," added the reigning champion.
The sensational victory over the defending champion provided huge confidence to Thiem, who expected to continue his winning streak against Nadal after the quarterfinal win in Rome in their latest matchup.
"On Friday is coming the toughest opponent ever here in Roland Garros. It will be the fourth match against him in five or six weeks, so there are not really big secrets," Thiem said of Nadal's performance in the tournament.
"He's again in his best shape. So it will be the toughest match that you can imagine," the Austrian added.