This is by far the most anticipated match of this year’s French Open. Roger and Rafa are meeting for the 1st time since 2017 Shanghai Masters final. This would also be the 1st clay match between them since the duo met in Rome 2013 Finals.
Federer has won the last 5 encounters between the two. He has improved his backhand to counter the Rafa forehand topspin. But all those matches were on fast hard-courts. Clay however is a different surface.
Nadal enjoys 13-2 win loss superiority over his Swiss rival on clay. In Roland Garros matches, the Spaniard leads 5-0. Nadal is also looking in great form since Rome this year and is on a 10 match winning streak. He also had an easy Quarterfinal against Nishikori, winning at the cost of just 5 games in straight sets.
Federer has also looked good at this year’s Roland Garros. His most grueling test came in Quarterfinals against fellow Swiss Stan Wawrinka. The match was close with Federer winning in 4 sets. It also involved 2 tie-breakers.
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As much as this match looks a heavy affair Nadal still holds a big edge on this surface. The Spaniard is expected to reach the French Open finals for a 12th time without too much resistance. He may even close it in straight sets.
Prediction – Nadal to win in 4 sets
This semifinal might prove to be a closer affair than the other one. Novak Djokovic and Dominic Thiem have met twice in Roland Garros so far with both winning 1 match each in straight sets. As both look in good form, this one could be a much closer match than the previous two encounters.
Novak has reached the semis without the loss of a single set. He passed a stiff test against Alexander Zverev in commanding fashion. Thiem however will be much more difficult to put away on clay.
The Austrian who looked a little off in the 1st week has been improving his game and won his last 2 matches in commanding fashion. His heavy hitting, use of the top-spin and fast kick serve would be important weapons when he faces the World Number 1 in the semis.
Novak enjoys a 6-3 head to head win loss record. The last time these two met was in Madrid this year. The match was intensely close with Novak’s defense working for him and aiding his win in 2 close sets. This match is also expected to be a close affair with both having the game and the grit to dislodge the opponent.
It is expected to be a nail-biting encounter and could even go the distance. Novak has a slight edge due to his record and reputation but Thiem on clay is the nearest thing to facing Nadal. He won’t bow out easily.
Prediction—Novak to win in 5 sets