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PIX: Rafa sets up Federer showdown in French Open semis

Last updated on: June 04, 2019 23:36 IST

Nadal thrashes Nishikori; Federer downs Wawrinka

Rafael Nadal celebrates his victory over Kei Nishikori in their French Open quarters on Tuesday

IMAGE: Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates after his quarter-final win over Japan's Kei Nishikori on Tuesday. Photograph: Charles Platiau/Reuters

Rafael Nadal continued his march towards a record-extending 12th French Open title by steamrolling a sorry Kei Nishikori 6-1, 6-1, 6-3 to book his place in the semi-finals on Tuesday.

The second seed, who now has a 91-2 win-loss record at the claycourt Grand Slam, was barely challenged by the seventh-seeded Nishikori as he set up a mouth-wartering last four meeting with 20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer.

 

"It's unbelievable for me, there's always so many emotions to come back to the semi-finals here," Nadal said.

"I'm very satisfied with my level in this tournament."

Playing on the back of two consecutive five-set matches, Nishikori never managed to mount any form of a challenge and was easily wiped off court by Nadal.

There was a sense of inevitability when Nadal and Nishikori stepped onto Philippe Chatrier Court.

Not only did Nadal have the numbers in his favour, but Nishikori's game had failed to catch fire since the beginning of the tournament.

Japan's Kei Nishikori plays a forehand return

IMAGE: Japan's Kei Nishikori plays a forehand return. Photograph: Clive Mason/Getty Images

Considering Nishikori had a 0-4 win-loss record against Nadal on clay, his chances of narrowing that run on Tuesday were slim - and so it proved to be.

Despite his usual early nerves, the Spaniard raced through the opening set, Nishikori's face already telling a tale of defeat.

Nishikori broke back for 1-1 but that effort proved to be his undoing as Nadal won the remaining five games to lead two sets to love.

After a quick check on his right arm by the physiotherapist, Nishikori was declared fit to continue and Nadal showed no mercy.

The match was interrupted at 4-2 because of a fast approaching thunderstorm, but the hour-long delay failed to hand Nishikori a lifeline.

Upon resumption, Nadal swiftly ended Nishikori's nightmare ordeal, wrapping it up on the first match point.

He is bidding to become the first player to win the same Grand Slam 12 times.

Federer subdues Wawrinka in Swiss classic

Switzerland's Roger Federer returns during his men's singles quarter-final against compatriot Stan Wawrinka on Tuesday.

IMAGE: Switzerland's Roger Federer returns during his men's singles quarter-final against compatriot Stan Wawrinka on Tuesday. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Wawrinka had beaten Federer four years ago at the same stage at Roland Garros, but this time he came up just short in a high-quality clash that had the fans on the edge of their seats.

Federer will now face defending champion Rafael Nadal in the semi-final in what will be the 39th instalment of their rivalry.

The 37-year-old took a tight opening set but 24th seed Wawrinka broke early in the second on his way to levelling it. 

Wawrinka appeared to be gaining the upper hand when he broke the Federer serve midway through the third set but Federer hit back immediately and played a another great tiebreaker.

Stan Wawrinka celebrates a point during her match against Roger Federer 

IMAGE: Stan Wawrinka celebrates a point during her match against Roger Federer. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Dark storm clouds closed in as the battle continued in the fourth set and play was interrupted for an hour at 3-3.

On the restart Wawrinka dropped serve at 4-4 to leave Federer serving for the match. He double-faulted on one match point and needed to save a break point but finally sealed victory with a volley.

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