Federer battles past Wawrinka sets semifinal clash against Nadal

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first_imgParis: Roger Federer set up a mouthwatering French Open semi-final clash with Rafael Nadal on Tuesday when he defeated Stan Wawrinka in four sets to become the oldest men’s Grand Slam semi-finalist in 28 years. The 37-year-old Swiss beat his compatriot 7-6 (7/4), 4-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 to reach his 43rd major semi-final and eighth at Roland Garros. He trails his head-to-head record with Nadal 23-15, but has won their last five meetings. Earlier, after seizing early control against former World No. 3 Wawrinka, the mishits and missed opportunities began to pile up for Federer, as he suddenly was two Wawrinka holds away from going down two sets to one. But the 2009 winner remained calm and regained the momentum during the roller-coaster match by winning a crucial third-set tie-break, only for the adrenaline to wear off as threatening clouds sent the compatriots off the court. Also Read – We don’t ask for kind of tracks we get: Bowling coach ArunBut instead of faltering, Federer earned his second break of the match when they returned to court and after saving a break chance, punched a forehand volley into the open court to become the second-oldest man to make the semi-finals at Roland Garros, trailing only Pancho Gonzales, who was 40 in 1968. Federer will next meet his greatest rival, 11-time champion Rafael Nadal, for the first time since 2017 Shanghai. They were set to battle in the semi-finals of this year’s BNP Paribas Open, but Nadal withdrew due to an injury. Their 39th FedEx ATP Head2Head clash (Nadal leads 23-15) will be their first on clay since 2013 Rome. Also Read – Bastian Schweinsteiger announces retirement, could join Germany set-upDefending champion Nadal, bidding for a 12th title at the French Open, blitzed a weary Kei Nishikori 6-1, 6-1, 6-3 in his quarter-final. “It was hard, really, really hard. Stan played a really good match, I’m very happy to play him here at Roland Garros,” said Federer. “If I came back to play on clay it must have been to play Rafa,” Federer added. The 20-time Grand Slam champion is the oldest man to make the semis at one of the big four tournaments since Jimmy Connors at the 1991 US Open aged 39. Wawrinka saved 16 of 18 break points in a thrilling encounter, but Federer quickly finished off the match after a rain delay to progress. It is the third seed’s first appearance at the French Open since 2015 after taking time away from clay to focus on Wimbledon, but he has been in fine form in Paris and has only lost one set so far — as has Nadal. Nadal, who turned 33 on Monday, is three behind Federer in the all-time list of Grand Slam singles titles heading into their 39th career clash. It will be Federer’s first Roland Garros semi-final since a defeat by Novak Djokovic in 2012.last_img

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