In a repeat of last year's Roland Garros title showdown, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal will face off in a blockbuster semi-final on Friday after breezing through their respective quarter-finals.
Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic will duel for a chance to be in the final of this year’s French Open later this week after both tennis stars won their respective quarter-final matches in Paris on Wednesday.
Nadal has won the French Open a record seven times and is the defending champion. But top seed Djokovic, the runner-up last year, has repeatedly said that claiming the Roland Garros title was his top priority this year.
The pair’s already legendary skill and competitive drive were once more on display on Wednesday, but it was Nadal who shined brightest.
After timid outings in the grand slam tournament this week, the 27-year-old Spaniard played his best match by far, levelling Swiss ninth seed Stanislas Wawrinka 6-2, 6-3, 6-1.
The Swiss flashed glimmers of inspired resistance in the first two sets, but exhausted and struggling with a strained thigh, he easily conceded the last four games to an the unrelenting Nadal.
Au revoir for Tommy
Djokovic was all business as he ended 35-year-old Tommy Haas's adventure at Roland Garros 6-3 7-6(5) 7-5, but the German did not go down easily.
Haas forced a second set tie-break and later broke Djokovic's serve in the third set as the Serb served for the match to level at 5-5.
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But the world number one came surging back, claiming the next two games and wrapping it all up with a backhand winner into the corner.
Djokovic will now get a chance to avenge his defeat to Nadal last year when the two meet on Friday.
In the other semi-final, Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will carry the hopes of the home nation as he takes on Spain's David Ferrer.
Sarapova bids to defend her crown
In the women's draw, defending champion Maria Sharapova looked shaky at the start of her quarter-final against Serbia’s Jelena Jankovic on Wednesday, crumbling in spectacular fashion in the first set to lose 6-0.
The Russian counted 20 unforced errors in all before the scare was over.
But the world number two picked herself up in the next set, and battled past her exhausted rival 0-6, 6-4, 6-3.
Sharapova will on Thursday meet third seed Victoria Azarenka, who beat Russian Maria Kirilenko 7-6(3), 6-2 to reach her first French Open semis.
World number one Serena Williams faces Italy’s Sara Errani in the day’s second semi-final.
(FRANCE 24 with wires)
Date created : 2013-06-05