Rivals Nadal, Federer to meet in French semifinals

Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer advanced to the French Open semifinals and will face off at Roland Garros for the first time since 2011.
No. 2 seed Nadal steamrolled No. 7 seed Kei Nishikori of Japan 6-1, 6-1, 6-3 in the first quarterfinal Tuesday, while No. 3 seed Federer needed a fourth set to put away Swiss countryman Stan Wawrinka 7-6 (4), 4-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4.

Roger Federer
Roger Federer in action during a match against Stanislas Wawrinka (Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports)

Friday’s heavyweight semifinal will be their first clash in Paris since Nadal defeated Federer in four sets to claim the 2011 title. The 32-year-old Nadal has a 23-15 edge in the all-time series against the 37-year-old Federer, including a 13-2 advantage on clay courts and a 5-0 mark at the French Open.
Nadal struck 29 winners and capitalized on 30 unforced errors by Nishikori, who was coming off back-to-back five-set wins. The 11-time champion was broken only once and converted 7-of-11 break chances in a one-hour, 50-minute match that was interrupted by a one-hour rain delay.
“I’m very satisfied,” Nadal said during his on-court interview afterward. “It’s incredible. Lots of emotions. To be back in the semifinals is something very, very important.”
Nadal improved to 91-2 for his career at Roland Garros and is 19-3 this season on the red dirt heading into his showdown with Federer.
Federer, competing in Paris for the first time since 2015, has won the past five matches in the rivalry and hasn’t lost to the Spanish star since the 2014 Australian Open semifinals.
Federer is the second-oldest man to make the semifinals here, trailing only 40-year-old Pancho Gonzales in 1968. The 20-time Grand Slam singles champion won his only French Open title in 2009.
Federer improved to 23-3 against Wawrinka with his rain-interrupted win in three hours, 35 minutes. He converted only 2-of-18 break points in the match, but the second break gave him a 5-4 lead in the fourth set and he won it on his third match point.
“We played a great match today,” Federer said. “Stan has had some tough years with injuries. I had to break his rhythm because he’s so powerful. I took some risks and they came off, but I was pretty lucky at the end.”
Federer ended the match with 53 winners and 49 unforced errors, compared to 54 winners and 61 errors by Wawrinka.
In the other quarterfinals on Wednesday, No. 1 seed Novak Djokovic faces No. 5 Alexander Zverev and No. 4 Dominic Thiem meets No. 10 Karen Khachanov.
–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)

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