Fitting finale for Rainbow Cup; Nadal into French Open semi-finals

The Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team

Spain’s Rafael Nadal is into his 16th French Open semi-final. Photograph: Getty Images

Spain’s Rafael Nadal is into his 16th French Open semi-final. Photograph: Getty Images

A round of dead rubbers is a fitting finale for the meaningless Rainbow Cup according to Gerry Thornley. “Little or nothing about this hotch-potch of a tournament was ultimately going to lead to a final based on merit,” he explains. The cancellation of the Ospreys-Benetton game ensures an anti-climactic sixth round of dead rubbers this weekend. Leinster’s game with the Dragons tomorrow will be Scott Fardy’s 80th and last before he rides off into the Australian sunset: “I didn’t want to get to a point where I just completely destroyed the body – and the game is getting more and more physical. It starts to take a toll.”

Rafael Nadal responded to a typically thorough examination from Diego Schwartzman by devastating him, beating the Argentinian 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-0 to reach the 16th French Open semi-final of his career. Earlier, in the women’s draw reigning champion Iga Swiatek was defeated 6-4, 6-4 after a supreme, gutsy performance from Maria Sakkari of Greece.

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