Dream Semi-Final Draw As The King Of Clay Plays A Familiar Foe, The Swiss Maestro.

The 2019 French Open has 1 leg into the semi-final, with the remainder of the quarter-final to be decided on Wednesday, and what a dream tie we have in our hands. It’s almost 2 years since tennis witness a Federer-Nadal matchup, both men were supposed to meet earlier this year at the Indian Wells but Nadal pulled out due to injury for a Federer walk over. However, barring an unlikely injury to either man, they will slug it out in the 1st semi-final tie for a place in this year’s French Open final.

Having won his round of 16 ties in an emphatic 6-2, 6-3, 6-3 win over Argentine Leonardo Mayer, Federer set up a tantalizing draw with his countryman, Stan Wawrinka. Wawrinka had before at this stage of the tournament in 2015 upset Federer, however, he couldn’t repeat that feat, as the Swiss maestro h2h 22-win advantage over Wawrinka’s 3, proved too much. Federer showed resilience to overcome his compatriot Stan Wawrinka in his quarter-final tie for the 1st time on clay, dropping a set in the process for the 1st time in this year’s tournament,7-6(7-4), 4-6, 7-6(7-5), 6-4, a keenly contested tie with 2 tiebreakers.

Defending French Open champion and 2nd seed, Rafael Nadal’s road to the last 8 was a swift round-of-16 dispatched of Argentine Juan Ignacio 6-2, 6-3, 6-3 to set up a potential banana draw with the 7th seed, Japanese Kei Nishikori in the last 8. It was the Spaniard’s 90th victory at Roland Garros, and his 13 times in the quarter-finals, Nadal has won all the French Open final he’s played in(11 titles). Nadal’s dominance over Nishikori down the years(winning 10 out of 12) suggests a straight win for the Spaniard, and so it proved to be. The Spaniard showed class and superiority, as he was too strong for Kei Nishikori, he won 6-1, 6-1, 6-3 to keep alive his dream of record extending 12th French Open titles. Nishikori clearly has not fully recovered from his 5-set thrillers in both the rounds of 32 & 16 respectively, as he labour all evening.

Federer had only managed 2 victories on clay over Nadal, none of which was a Grand Slam tie. The 2007 ATP 1000 Hamburg Master and 2009 Madrid Masters were Federer’s clay surface victory over the King of clay. Nadal head and shoulder above Federer on head-to-head meetings won 23 compared to Federer’s 15 across all tournaments. Another Nadal triumph is highly on the card.

The Remaining Quarter-Final Draws Includes;

Novak Djokovic(1) vs Alexander Zverev(5),

Dominic Thiem(4) vs Karen Khachanov(10),

French Open top seed and world number 1 ranked player, Novak Djokovic claimed his place in the last 8 with a comfortable, straight sets 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 win over Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff. The Serb became the 1st man to reach the last 8 in 10-straight French Open tournaments, as he continues his bid to win all 4 Grand Slam titles simultaneously for the 2nd time having achieved it at 1st when he won the 2016 French Open to complete all 4 Grand Slams. Djokovic has not dropped a single set in the tournament, he will have his hands full against another German, this time 5th seed Alexander Zverev in the quarter-finals. Zverev came from a set down to lead 2 sets to 1 before he eventually won the deciding set on a tiebreaker against the 9th seed, Italia Fabio Fognini 3-6, 6-2, 6-2, 7-6(7-5). Both Djokovic and Zverev had not yet met at a Grand Slam before but had met 4 times in ATP Masters events, winning 2 apiece, with Zverev coming atop in the only clay surface meeting, the 2017 Rome Masters.

The last quarter-final tie paired Austrian and 4th seed, Dominic Thiem up with Russian Karen Khachanov. Thiem reaches the last 8 with a straight set 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 win over last home hopeful, Gael Monfils. Khachanov, on the other hand, had a much tougher round of 16 wins over 8 seed and Argentinean Martin Del Potro, 7-5, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 to reach his 1st ever Grand Slam quarter-finals. Thiem-Khachanov arguably is by far the most even of all the quarter-final matchups. The pair had only met once, the 2018 Paris Masters, with Khachanov emerging victorious in straight sets.

Who are you rooting for to make the final? I’d rather sit on the fence, but if my back is pushed against the wall, I’ll pick a Djokovic-Nadal final

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