Federer, Nadal Set French Open Semifinal Showdown; Djokovic-Zverev Wed.
by Staff | June 4th, 2019, 5:35 pm

The dream French Open semifinal is set for Friday between Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer after the two rivals won their quarterfinals matches on Tuesday.

Nadal, as expected by most, blew out a weary Kei Nishikori 6-1, 6-1, 6-3 on Chatrier. About the only thing that slowed Rafa’s assault against Nishikori, who was playing a third straight day, was a quick thunder-storm that halted play with Nadal up 4-2 in the third.

After an hour, play resumed and Nadal finished off Nishikori for an 11th time in 13 tries. And it put Nadal into his 12th Roland Garros semifinal and earned him his 21st straight win on these courts.

“Today has been a positive victory against Kei,” said Nadal. “I did the things well, what I had to do, I think. I think the ball is flying well, and that’s it. I have been improving during the whole clay-court season. Every tournament will be more. And now is the moment to play at the highest level, and we hope to be able to make that happen.”

Nishikori admitted afterward that his back-to-back 5-set wins over Laslo Djere and Benoit Paire caught up to him.

“I try to put 100*% on the court even though my tank was very low today,” said Nishikori. “I was frustrated too much with my tennis today… Maybe if I could been a little more positive today, maybe I had a little more chance, but I think I learned many things from this week. [It was a] very good tournament this week.”

While Rafa was routing Nishikori, Federer was on Lenglen and fully embroiled in his first real test of the tournament against his good buddy Stan Wawrinka.

Federer led Wawrinka 22-3 but Stan took Federer down in 2015 on Lenglen and all three of his wins came on the clay. So there was cause for concern.

Today, though, Federer was the sharper of the two earlier and despite his issues on break points just got the better of Stan who struggled early with his form.

Wawrinka came back in the second behind his brand of bully ball and an early break. Stan looked to have momentum on his side as he took a break lead in the third but Federer managed to get it back and then pulled out a pivotal break.

It was wasn’t the best of tennis, but Federer was deft with his dropshots and volleys, and the versatility Federer showed – even badly shanking an overhead late in the match – kept Wawrinka off balance.

As was the case on Chatrier, play was stopped for an hour at 3-all. The one hour break after 3+ hours of tennis, could prove the difference. It seemed to help Federer.

Once they resumed, Federer won three of the next four games to close it out 7-6(4), 4-6, 7-6(5), 6-4 in 3 hours, 35 minutes.

“I’m very happy, number one, to be back in another semifinals of a Grand Slam. It hasn’t happened in the past year or so. I had some tough losses in fourth rounds or quarters. So from that standpoint, I exceeded my expectations here,” Federer said. “After missing the French for so many years, it’s nice to be back in the semis, so that’s a great feeling.”

Federer finished just 2/18 on break chances with 53 winners to 49 unforced. Wawrinka was 2/5 on his break chances but had 54 winners to 61 unforced.

“Only a few points could have changed a little bit the match, but I think I was playing well in those moments. He was a bit more aggressive,” Wawrinka said. “This court was quite fast and slippery. It was important to be aggressive, to be inside the court, and he did that better than me.

“He was playing the way I expect him to play against me and on clay court,” he added. “There is no surprise anymore in what we are doing. It’s just about who’s going to play the best in those important points, and he did that better than me today.”

So it will be Nadal v Federer on Friday. Nadal of course leads 23-15 and more importantly 13-2 on clay, 5-0 at the French Open. Federer, though, has won the last five and the last time Rafa won was back in the 2015 Australian Open semifinals.

“With Rafa, particularly on clay, you have to be aware of his strengths, what he brings to the table. And on top of it, because he’s a left-hander, it just changes everything,” Federer said.

“I have two days, which I guess is a good thing. It’s better than one. It’s better than none. So from that standpoint, I get more left-handed practice, more serves and all that stuff.

“Because I guess I have played five guys now that are righties, so for me it’s a complete switch-around. Just the way the ball goes out of your strings with the different spins, it’s just different. So you have to get used to that quickly. Don’t have much time to waste.

“That’s why you have to be fearless to some extent to take on the spinny balls, the sliding balls, the kicking balls, and that’s what I will do on Friday.”

Meanwhile, Rafa sounds ready for title number 12 this Sunday.

“The way that I have been playing has been very positive,” said Nadal. “I have been playing well, very solid. Winning good matches against tough opponents, like today. I am happy with that. 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’ll] be another episode, and [I’m] happy for that and excited. It will be [a] special moment, and let’s try to be ready for it.”

Who will be in the other semifinal? We should find out on Wednesday, weather permitting.

Novak Djokovic will carry a 25-match Slam win streak into his match against Alexander Zverev. Dominic Theim will try to return to a fourth French semifinal against 23-year-old Karen Khachanov who is making his Major quarterfinal debut. Both Zverev and Khachanov are trying to reach their first Slam semifinal.

Court Philippe CHATRIER Début à 14h00
Simona HALEP (ROU) [3] contre Amanda ANISIMOVA (USA)
Novak DJOKOVIC (SRB) [1] contre Alexander ZVEREV (GER) [5]

Court Suzanne LENGLEN Début à 14h00
Madison KEYS (USA)[14] contre Ashleigh BARTY (AUS) [8]
Dominic THIEM (AUT)[4] contre Karen KHACHANOV (RUS) [10]

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32 Comments for Federer, Nadal Set French Open Semifinal Showdown; Djokovic-Zverev Wed.

skeezer Says:

Novak in quick 3 sets. All breadsticks. His only challenge to the final will be Theim(if he gets there, KK is playing really well)
Rafa is licking his chops.

Huan Says:

Fed – Nadal is gonna be super windy,it seems.Not even gonna be close.

Chico Says:

Pretty much defined this clay court tour as madness for Fed, mostly because the difference in rhythm it causes on all the ligaments and muscles. Ok, so Stan was the first tougher one, but still Fed did way better than I expected. Five best of five terre baute mathes for the “old man”. Semi finals. Does not seem autistic(?). Has anyone emptied a barrel of tennisballs in front of him and asked how many..?

But now prob best for some extra push a la jinx:

No chance against Nadal. Nilch. Nada. Better try nailing jelly to the wall while milking the ram. Or squeeze something between page 913 and 914 in the book of tried tactics against Nadal on clay. Or solve the fusion-reaction while trying to keep Ricky Gervais from commenting on Trump news and make Giles and skeezer hook up for a beer..

Bless the fail again, fail better – people. Game on! Viva la go down in flames :D!

Kimberly Says:

Hoping for a Federer Nadal clay court classic.

Classic with Nadal putting on a clay court clinic !

Wog Boy Says:

Zverev easy, KK can take 1 or even 2 sets since his mentor and practice partner is Safin.

Serial offender aka Vladimir Klitschko of tennis will …get injured;)

FedExpress Says:

“Winning good matches against tough opponents, like today.”

What a troll Nadal is. Other would call him delusional.

Vk Says:

Fe, hope he says the same on friday.

j-kath Says:

Thiem vs Khachanov: For me this is a 50-50% match. Oddly enuf the only player that has beaten BOTH players is Verdasco. Thiem has been around a bit longer than Khach. and has some important wins. Apart from that Khach. has a height advantage which he uses well. I’m personally betting on Khach….(without putting out a penny).

El_matador Says:

Rooting for khachanov badly even though he knocked out my boy delpo…he’s my most favourite among the next big things..

Btw French open has by far the worst scheduling among all the slams…putting 2 quarter finals at the same time each year…disgrace…I don’t care about any explanation…I wish they would try to be more “different” & put 2 semi-finals at the same time too & put men’s & women’s finals at the same time too…

j-kath Says:

El_matador: You are reading my mind. I nearly commented similarly re. the scheduling….one dimension thinking by the French so-called organisers.

Kimberly Says:

Nadal is ready for this one. It’s on his racket. If he plays like he played in Rome he’s winning this one.

FedExpress Says:

All matches cancelled for today due to rain. rofl. what a mess.

Dave Says:

just as I thought. Nadal is winning his 12th French Open. His odds just went way up. Djokovic now will play a rested Zverev and need to win 3 best of 5 set matches in 4 days against Zverev, Thiem and Nadal. Basically 3 of the best clay court players. I don’t see him being rested enough to take down Nadal in the final.

Daniel Says:

Finalist from top half (Djoko) will have to play 3 matches in 4 days. QF and semis back to back Thursday and Friday and a day rest before final.

That if the weather helps as Friday is a rainny day also. There is a chance this player can play all days from thursday to sunday if the weather doesn’t help. But they all got another day to rest before QF at least

Daniel Says:


That depends, if Djoko dispatches Zverev quick, he may play one long match in Semis. But if he doesn’t play 5 sets or 4 hours plus he will be rested. He can reach finals without losing a set. It all depends on next 2 matches.

lylenubbins Says:

@ Dave, as a Rafa fan I hope you are right. Problem is that Joker is in very good form. If he is at his best, he beats anyone anywhere.

Giles Says:

Why is fed wearing this “shit” colour?

Dave Says:


Why would Djokovic want another day to rest when he has barely played over 6 hours in 4 matches? Zverev is the one who will benefit from having 72 hours between matches when he has played twice as long already. This is a huge advantage for Zverev, not DJokovic. He was totally fresh for today.

Solomon Ekegbu Says:

Why does Nadal stand so far back even in second serves and on slow clay.

I know Djokovic is the 🐐 returner but is Nadal that bad at returning that he has to stand so far back.

Could it be the reason why he is poor against big servers

Madmax Says:

You have to bless Giles guys. Here he goes again. Trolling Fed. Fed lover.

Giles, don’t worry. Nadal will win. Let’s be honest. It has been an easy draw for him, again.

But I congratulate Fed for getting to the SF’s and returning to RG with grace.

Daniel Says:


I said “they all” got an extra day rest. For Djoko it doesn’t matter (agree), he is the one who least needs it. But for Zverev and the other 3 is also good. And I am talking about long term, as one fo these 4 will have to play 3 matches in 4 days, this extra day today may recharge them for whats to come, if there are long matches. Djoko seems the more ready to do it as he conserved energy the most.

I don’t think Zverev beats Djoko, rested or not, he’s still building some confidence and he never reached semis in Slams before. Djoko is in fine form and so far rested, not like Rome.

Daniel Says:

RG didn’t release the order for tomorrow yet.

Giles Says:

Joker and AZ second on PC after women’s QF tomorrow

Daniel Says:

Schedule out, same as today. Both womens semis pushed to Friday, with both mens semis.

SG1 Says:

While Rafa defeating Roger seems like a foregone conclusion, it’s not a wide open slam dunk. Roger’s recent victories against Rafa will give him the belief that he can make this match interesting. Federer is also playing with less pressure than Rafa for a bunch of reasons that we all already know. I think Federer feels like he’s playing with house money right now. Who would have guessed his 2019 FO result would surpass his results at the 2019 AO and 2018 USO?

I think it’s going to be key for Federer to take the ball early and rob Rafa of time. He’ll also need to get into Rafa’s service games right from the beginning of the match and get Rafa on edge. He’ll need to convert his break point opportunities efficiently. If he can do all of those things, he’ll have a chance to win the match. And a few lucky bounces wouldn’t hurt either. That’s just how good Rafa is on clay. A lot of things have to go right for Federer to have just a chance to win this match.

The reward for Rafa or Fed winning their match? Djokovic in the Final. Ouch!

skeezer Says:

Good to see you back. thought the Church may have scared you away. Great post

Madmax Says:


Surely not! Inverdale: “How do you see the percentages? 65/35 Nadal?”

Courier: “85/15. Best of five here, heavy conditions, it won’t be hot on Friday.

“We won’t clear 7OF for the rest of the tournament. Hotter conditions you would say that favours Nadal’s high bouncing shot in a way but it also makes it tougher for Federer to finish points.

“I can talk myself to either side of the weather but frankly best of time against Nadal, it is just so hard to beat him.

Keothavong: “I’m giving him a five per cent chance.”

Daniel Says:

Crucial for any remote chance for Federer is 1st set. He currently is on a 7 set win streak against Nadal. And if he wins 1st he may believe more and Nadal second guessing. Also he can’t drag much. The longer the match the better for Nadal.
So he needs a quick 40 min opening set and avoid those 5+ min games with several deuce as ocasionally happens on clay.

j-kath Says:

Right or wrong, Inverdale is always a pain in the derriere.

chrisford1 Says:

SG1 – “The reward for Rafa or Fed winning their match? Djokovic in the Final. Ouch!”

Likely Djokovic, plausibly Thiem. And I am liking KK’s big game for Wimbledon, now. He will likely go far, QFs maybe, possibly past that to threaten to take it to some Big 3 members in the semis, final.

As far as Federer goes, it is nice to see the results he has had on clay after a 3-4 year layoff. He took a chance, it paid off. He’s in the race to London year-end Top 8 or #1 ranking now. And he is likely to keep in the Top 4 at least, for a good length of time to come and avoid Novak or Rafa until a semi happens.

Anyone else notice Andy Murray has announced he will play at Queens to assess where he is now on his recovery?

j-kath Says:

Chrisford 1: Yep, Andy playing doubles at Queens.

RZ Says:

The bracket hasn’t been updated yet, but Nithish (leading after the last round) has all 4 semifinalists correct, so he would hold on to his lead. Joan would stay in second as she also has all 4 semifinalists correct.

The “What if” scenarios should be up soon and I’ll update everyone then.

Top story: With 72 Players Now In Full Quarantine, Djokovic Wants Fewer Restrictions