Roger Federer vs Rafael Nadal is considered one of the greatest rivalries in Sport with both of them having the quality of never giving up. Federer might have 20 Grand Slams to his name, but the Swiss knows he faces an almost impossible task in the French Open semi-final – beating Rafael Nadal. The defending champion, dubbed the ‘King of Clay’, is eyeing a record-extending 12th title at Roland Garros and has only lost two of 93 matches since his debut in Paris in 2005.
So what chance does Federer, whose only French Open title came a decade ago, have of beating Nadal ? Federer would be confident that he has defeated Nadal in their past five meetings, though he has only beaten the Spanish great twice in 15 attempts on clay and never at Roland Garros.
Nadal leads 5-0
Nadal is 5-0 against Federer at Roland Garros. It has been eight years since he last met Federer at the tournament, clinching the 2011 final in four sets Federer. The career leader in Grand Slam men’s singles titles with 20, returned to clay-court tennis this spring after a three-year break with a genuine intent of playing freely and enjoying the journey, unburdened by the sense that only titles would be good enough.
The odds and reason are against Federer winning, even if he has beaten Nadal in their last five matches, all on hard courts. Nadal’s high-kicking left-handed forehand can still wear down Federer’s one-handed backhand like nothing else on clay or earth.
After rain caused forced a wash out on Wednesday, the men’s and women’s quarter-finals in the bottom half of the draw had to be moved to Thursday. The women’s semi-finals were due to be played on Thursday but have to be played on Friday, when the men’s matches were scheduled to be played. French Open officials have announced the semi-final between Federer and Nadal will be played on amid fears of rain on Friday.