IT’S ON – the match the French Open crowd and the world of tennis have been waiting for.
Roger Federer v Rafa Nadal. On Clay. At Roland Garros.
2 It will be the first time the two tennis legends will face against each other at this Slam for eight yearsCredit: Reuters
Ever since the Swiss superstar announced he would end his three-year hiatus from Roland Garros, everyone had hoped, prayed even, this would happen.
And following contrasting quarter-final victories here in Paris, the reigning champion Nadal will take on his old nemesis Federer in the semi-finals for the first time at this Slam for EIGHT years.
Federer, 37, finally disposed of his fellow Swiss star Stan Wawrinka on his third match point in a match delayed by rain but that was still brimming with quality and drama.
The 20-time Grand Slam champion produced some evidence of good old-fashioned serve-and-volley as he won 7-6 4-6 7-6 6-4 to reach a record 44th Grand Slam semi-final.
Nadal, meanwhile, who has dropped only one set all tournament, cruised into a record-extending 12th French Open semi-final hardly breaking any sweat.
The Spaniard battered poor No7 seed Kei Nishikori 6-1 6-1 6-3.
The Japanese star called for the trainer to assess his shoulder injury but even without the physical aliment, it was unlikely he would ever match Nadal’s extraordinarily high level on his favoured surface.
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For Federer and Nadal, this will be the sixth time they have played here.
Nadal has won all five of their previous contests and will be the favourite to prolong his status as the King of Clay.
Yet Federer, who only has a few more years left on the circuit, knows this might be his final chance to add his 2009 French Open triumph.
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2 Rafael Nadal will face Roger Federer at Roland Garros in the semi-finalsCredit: AFP or licensors