Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic set for French Open semi-final showdown
Joe Salisbury ends British trophy drought at French Open with mixed doubles title
Stefanos Tsitsipas leads Alexander Zverev 4-1 in the fifth set. It has been a competitive, topsy turvy match between the two men.
How it stands…
Hello and welcome to the match we’ve all been waiting for ever since the draw was made two weeks ago.
It has been a couple of years since we have seen a true “Big Three” humdinger at a grand slam. So, the 58th tour meeting of Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal is inspiring excitement and anticipation. Nadal is almost unbeatable at Roland-Garros, with a win-loss record of 105-2.
Yet he will be all too aware that the only active player to have overcome him here was Djokovic, in the 2015 quarter-finals. Now, it is worth remembering that 2015 and 2016 were Nadal’s wilderness years. His tennis went through a kind of midlife crisis in the build-up to his 30th birthday, as he lost not only his confidence but the pop he usually puts on the ball. In the circumstances, we could place an asterisk against Djokovic’s one-sided 7-5, 6-3, 6-1 win that day.
The same could be said of Robin Soderling’s victory over Nadal in 2009 – a season when he was simultaneously battling knee trouble and digesting news of his parents’ separation. Has anyone ever beaten a full-power Nadal at the French Open?
The simple answer is no. Still, Djokovic looks to have a shot today, as long as he can maintain the quality of stroke play that ousted Matteo Berrettini in Wednesday’s quarter-final. Logic suggests that mortality will eventually catch up with Nadal, who turned 35 last week. Djokovic is only 11 months younger, but has had significantly fewer injury worries over the years. He loves making history, and a victory on Wednesday would certainly stand high up his CV.
The winner of this match will face the winner of the first semi-final between Stefanos Tsitsipas vs Alexander Zverev which is currently taking place.
You can follow that match here.