PARIS, June 7: Rafael Nadal barely broke a sweat to reach the French Open semifinals on Wednesday as fellow Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta quit with an injury less than an hour into their quarterfinal, while defending champion Novak Djokovic suffered a demoralising quarterfinal defeat.
Nadal, bidding for a 10th title at Roland Garros, was leading 6-2, 2-0 when Carreno Busta decided he could not continue after receiving lengthy treatment for a left abdominal muscle injury at the end of the first set.
The 31-year-old Nadal has spent only around eight hours on court, dropping 22 games in the process, to reach his record-extending 10th semifinal at the French Open.
It is the fewest number of games Nadal has lost on his way to the last four on the Paris clay. In 2008, he dropped 25.
He will face Austrian Dominic Thiem next.
Reigning champion Novak Djokovic suffered a demoralising quarterfinal exit as he slumped to a 7-6(5), 6-3, 6-0 defeat by Austrian sixth seed Dominic Thiem on Wednesday.
Djokovic, bidding for a seventh consecutive semifinal spot at Roland Garros, squandered two set points in the opener before losing the tiebreak and his game then fell apart.
Thiem, beaten 6-1, 6-0 by Djokovic in Rome last month, could hardly believe his luck as his Serbian opponent waved the white flag in the third set, losing it in 20 minutes.
It was 12-times Grand Slam champion Djokovic�s first defeat before the semifinals in Paris since 2010 when he was also beaten by an Austrian, Juergen Melzer.
Thiem, who reached the semifinals last year when he lost to Djokovic, will face nine-times champion Rafa Nadal next.
�Nothing was going my way and everything was going his way,� Djokovic told reporters. �He deserved to win, he was definitely the better player today. He made it difficult, he has really heavy spin and plays quick.
�It was just not there for me today. It�s unfortunate to finish at Roland Garros the way I did today. It�s a fact that I�m not playing close to my best.�
Earlier in the women�s singles on Tuesday, Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland registered a 6-4, 6-4 victory against local favourite Kristina Mladenovic and will face Latvia�s Jelena Ostapenko.
Despite the tough conditions and the partisan crowd, the 30th seed managed to control her emotions to produce her best tennis, after having a nightmare in her sleep and waking up nervous.
�I really get nervous. Last night I went to bed more or less at 11:00. I woke up at 4:00,� she told a news conference.
�Could not sleep for an hour. Went back to sleep. Woke up earlier than my alarm. My heart was beating. Like, it was a rush.�
That came at the end of an agitated night for Bacsinszky, who explained her nightmare.
�I remember that I had, like, three towels that I wanted to give to my siblings because I have three, but I forgot them in the closet,� she said.
�So it was a big drama, so I could not get into the plane without giving the towels of the French Open, and I woke up and I was sweating. It was terrible for me.
�So probably if I would not be playing a quarterfinal of a Grand Slam, I would probably not have these kind of nightmare issues.�
Teenager Jelena Ostapenko rallied from a set down, and overcame two rain delays and a vastly more experienced opponent to become the youngest player to advance to the semifinals of the French Open in a decade on Tuesday.
The World No.47, unseeded in Paris, ousted former World No.1 and No.11 seed Caroline Wozniacki, 4-6, 6-2, 6-2, to advance to the semifinal. � Agencies