Roger Federer to face Rafael Nadal in French Open semi-finals
Nadal wraps up easy win to set up 39th career meeting with old foe Federer
Last Updated: 04/06/19 7:16pm
Roger Federer will meet old foe Rafael Nadal in a dream semi-final date at the French Open after both men won their respective matches on Tuesday.
Federer got the better of Swiss compatriot Stan Wawrinka, recording his first victory over his opponent on clay, coming through a tight battle in four sets 7-6 (7-4) 4-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-4, while Nadal wrapped up a straight-sets win against Kei Nishikori 6-1 6-1 6-3 as he continued his march towards a record-extending 12th title.
Former champions Federer and Wawrinka turned back the clock as they entertained a packed crowd on Court Suzanne-Lenglen.
The match was poised midway through the fourth set when play was stopped as dark clouds gathered ominously above Roland Garros, and when they came back it was 2009 winner Federer who advanced to the last four.
This was a predictably tight affair, with Wawrinka, who had played for more than five hours in the fourth round against Stefanos Tsitsipas, hitting back in the second set.
The third saw both men have chances, but it was Federer who took his in the tie-break and a break of serve at 4-4 in the fourth set him up for a return to the semi-finals in Paris for the first time since 2012.
Defending champion Nadal produced an impressive display of power and consistency as he methodically picked apart Nishikori with a mix of pinpoint groundstrokes, subtle drop shots and spectacular winners in a match lasting one hour and 51 minutes on Court Philippe-Chatrier.
Nadal dropped just five games in a thumping win against an admittedly tired opponent, who had been pushed to five sets in his previous two matches.
Nishikori could find nothing with which to hurt Nadal and the Spaniard, who turned 33 on Monday, will now look to maintain his record of never having lost at Roland Garros once he has reached the last four.
The only thing that held him up was a brief thunderstorm in the third set. Nadal looked decidedly unhappy to be instructed to leave the court at 4-2 but wasted little time wrapping things up on the resumption.
"I'm very satisfied, it's incredible, lots of emotions," Nadal said. "To be back in the semi-finals is something very, very important.
And on facing Federer, he said: "Of course after having Roger in front in the semi-finals is an extra thing. We shared the most important moments of our careers together on court facing each other. So it is another episode of this, and happy for that and excited, no? It will be a special moment, and let's try to be ready for it."
Nadal and Federer first met on clay at the semi-final stage of the 2005 French Open which the Spaniard won en route to his first Grand Slam victory. Nadal has won all five meetings with Federer at Roland Garros.
The pair will meet again for the 39th time on Friday with Nadal holding a 23-15 advantage over his rival, although the Swiss has been victorious in their last five clashes, including a memorable five-set victory in the 2017 Australian Open final.
"My next opponent is not too bad. He can play on clay, unfortunately," a smiling Federer joked to the crowd at Court Suzanne-Lenglen. "What a pleasure, actually. If I decided to come back to play on clay, it was maybe to play Rafa."
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