Published: Wed, June 05, 2019
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

Here we go: Just like old times, Federer vs. Nadal in France

Here we go: Just like old times, Federer vs. Nadal in France

"Roger came back on clay because he's a player who plays well on all surfaces and on clay he has good chances of winning", said Nadal who hasn't lost to the Swiss on clay since the Madrid final in 2009.

The Spanish great booked a semi-final berth against Roger Federer - who revealed that the prospect of such a match-up was a motivation in him returning to claycourt tennis. That's why I'm very happy to play Rafa, because if you want to do or achieve something on the clay, inevitably, at some stage, you will go through Rafa, because he's that strong and he will be there. In 2015, a pair of loud plaid shorts became a totem for Wawrinka when he beat Federer in the quarters en route to the Roland Garros title - the last time the two had faced one another here before Tuesday. At 37, Federer is the oldest semifinalist at the French Open since 40-year-old Pancho Gonzalez in 1968.

But now she has emulated Jo Durie who was the last British woman to make the French Open semi-finals in 1983.

Nishikori extended his impressive record in five-set matches to 23-6, including a 6-1 mark at the clay-court Grand Slam.

But anyone who follows tennis knows Nadal owns the red courts at Roland Garros. The Frenchman saved two match points in the fourth-set tiebreaker and served for the match at 5-3, but he was finally made to rue his very bad mistakes.

Nishikori will play in a third quarterfinal match in Paris but faces a tall order in the next round.

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He double-faulted on one match point and needed to save a break point but finally sealed victory with a volley.

In the pivotal third set, Federer had to battle through five deuce points in the 11th game to keep Wawrinka at bay and retain the lead on serve, but he could not avoid a second tie-break.

In his quarterfinal win over Stan Wawrinka, Federer was eager to rush the net, a tactic that proved fruitful: he won 41 net points compared to just nine for Wawrinka.

In the women's quarterfinals, 26th-seeded Johanna Konta eliminated 2018 runner-up Sloane Stephens 6-1, 6-4, grabbing 21 of the last 22 points she served.

Until this year, Konta had entered the clay-court major four times, losing in the first round each time. "If we are looking at the exact number of Slams, Novak has a chance to break Federer's record and I believe those Roger's 20 will be surpassed, to say it that way".

In the semifinals, Konta will play either No. 31 Petra Martic of Croatia or 19-year-old Marketa Vondrousova. I was talking earlier to Mats Wilander who said actually as you get older the pressure does become more hard to manage.

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