Novak Djokovic hoping to overpower Rafa Nadal in French Open semi
Novak Djokovic hopes recent victory over Rafael Nadal in Monte Carlo can give him the mental edge to reach French final.
Last Updated: 07/06/13 12:08pm
This will be the 35th time the pair have met, and the first before a final since 2010 with current world No 4 Nadal leads their head-to-head 19-15.
Spaniard Nadal has won 12 of 15 matches on clay, but Djokovic has come out on top in eight of their last 11 meetings, including the most recent one 6-2 7-6 (7-1) in the final of the Monte Carlo Masters in April.
After three defeats to his rival last year on clay, it was a key victory for Djokovic and the Serbian world No 1 is confident he can emerge victorious at Roland Garros.
Djokovic said: "That is something that can maybe give me that mental edge when I step onto the court, knowing I already won against him on clay this season, knowing I can do it, even though not many players in the last 10 years have won against him on this surface and he's been the most dominant player in the history of this sport on this surface.
"It's incredible what he does on this surface. But it's the best of five (sets), so it takes much more than just doing the same thing like in Monte Carlo.
"It's a grand slam also, so there is I guess more tension, more things that are important for both of us. The final is at stake.
"But if everything goes well and if I start well in the match, I think that can give me that confidence boost that I need."
Nadal dominated their early meetings, winning 14 of the first 18, but since then Djokovic has had the upper hand more often than not.
He won three successive grand slam finals against Nadal before the Spaniard stopped him joining a very exclusive club of men who have held all four titles at the same time with a four set win here last year.
Djokovic said of playing Nadal: "I always thought I had a good chance. I have a good game for him because my style is to be aggressive, but I can also defend well and have that transition game.
"I need to serve well. If I serve well, get a few free points here and there, it gives you confidence.
"But generally I know what the game plan is, and I'm going to be confident and step into the court with self-belief that I can win. I know what it takes to win against him."