Rocket-powered Nadal in hot water for taking his time
Paris: Rafael Nadal zipped around Court Philippe Chatrier as though he had rockets in his heels during a straight sets quarter-final win over Nicolas Almagro but he was still not quick enough for the umpire.
Nadal rarely gets flustered during matches but lost his rag with chair umpire Stefan Fransson at the end of the ninth game after getting a second warning over the time he was taking in between points.
Considering he was wearing a sponsor`s watch worth half a million dollars he really did not have a leg to stand on and Nadal was charm personified when he explained the incident.
"If I deserve it, I deserve it," four-times champion Nadal told reporters after being fully extended for the first time in the tournament by aggressive 19th seed Almagro in a 7-6, 7-6, 6-4 victory.
"I think this put a bit of pressure on me, then I had to play with pressure. But these are the rules, and I understand the rules. They told me already I was a bit slow and taking a bit too much time."
Nadal, who turns 24 on Thursday, felt the second warning was harsh, especially as it came at crucial phase of the match when fellow Spaniard Almagro earned a break point at 4-4 which Nadal fended off with superb serve and volley play.
"I thought I was being very fast. I didn`t even take the time to wipe my face," he said. "I didn`t want to be fined or to get a penalty point. I was making big efforts to be as quick as possible."
"I think the second warning was not a warning I deserved," added Nadal in his most endearing Spanglish.
His time-keeping was a bit off but there was not much wrong with his game once he recovered from losing the opening three games against a dangerous opponent.
"I started terrible," said Nadal, who faces unfancied Austrian Jurgen Melzer in the semi-finals and could meet Sweden`s Robin Soderling, the only man to beat him at Roland Garros, in the final.
"I started the beginning of the match terrible. I threw all the balls outside. I came back very soon to 3-3 so that was very important for me in the first set.
"I`m very happy how I played the tiebreaks. I played aggressive, very focused, and in the important moments I think I played better than the rest of the match."