Everyone will have expected the top 3 to reach this stage with Fererr being many people’s pick for the 4th semi finalist.
I would imagine the one everyone is looking forward to most is the Djokovic/Federer game as Ferrer has beaten Nadal just once which was their first ever meeting back in 2004.
Ferrer v Nadal:
Head to heads are 16-5 in Nadal’s favour. Four of Ferrer’s wins came on fast courts. In Nadal’s 12 wins over him Ferrer has managed to win just 2 sets.
Surprisingly this is Ferrer’s first French Open semi final although it has to be said his form is improving the older he gets. He’s due to win Wimbledon in 2020. He has been in fantastic form in this tournament and was able to take full advantage of a disappointing Murray performance in the quarter finals.
To win this match Ferrer needs to win more sets than he has won in his career against Nadal on clay. Whilst I hope he can take the opening set ( and then a break in the second set would be great!) I just can’t see him winning the match. Being a great defender will grind most players down but you need more than that to beat Rafa. Ferrer doesn’t have the huge serve or Del Potro forehands to get the job done.
Update: Ferrer started well but missed a chance to take a break point and pretty much fell apart in the rest of the set. After a rain delay the match continued with Nadal in control. Ferrer fought as you’d expect but just didn’t have the weapons to hurt his opponent.
Nadal won 6-4, 7-5, 6-3.
Djokovic v Federer:
Head to heads are 14-12 in Federer’s favour. Djokovic has won 6 of their 7 matches in the last 2 years. However Federer’s only win in that period was in last year’s French Open semi final.
Djokovic has won 12 best of 5 sets matches in a row. Federer has won 5. Djokovic has won 26 Grand Slam matches in a row!
Djokovic is attempting to be the first player since 1969 to hold all 4 Grand Slams at the same time. He certainly hasn’t had an easy route to get this far. He had to come back from 2 sets down against Seppi. He faced 4 match points against Tsonga in the quarter finals.
Both Federer and Nadal have been in a position to hold all 4 at the same time but the pressure proved too much. Perhaps that pressure was the reason for Djokovic’s poor start against Seppi and his lapses in concentration against Tsonga. Champions turn up for the big matches and his next 2 matches ( potentially) could be the biggest of his impressive career.
Federer has not been at his best. When the pressure has been on he has been able to step up a gear but normally you wouldn’t have expected him to need 4 sets against a lucky loser, although Goffin played exceptionally well, or to need 5 sets to beat Del Potro on clay.
Djokovic won their last match which was in Rome last month on clay. It should be noted that Federer was considering not playing in Rome to allow his back problem time to improve for Roland Garros.
Djokovic has proved himself a great champion and I feel it would be fitting for him to equal Rod Laver’s achievement of holding all 4 majors at the same time. There would still be the small task of beating Nadal in the final but I think he will find a way to get to that final.
Djokovic to win in 4.
Update: Federer made a good start and got the first break. However in true Murray style he was broken back immediately. Djokovic looked stronger for the rest of the set.
In the second it was again Federer who broke first but was again broken back. He broke for a third time but guess what? Broken back and broken again when serving at 5-6.
In the third it was Djokovic’s turn to break first which proved to be the only break of the set.
Djokovic won 6-4, 7-5, 6-3.