. It took the luck of the draw and then an upset in Roger Federer's quarter, but on Friday, we will see Federer-Nadal Episode 39 at the French Open. When the draw was completed, a week and a half ago, all the talk amongst the tennis world would be that if the cards fell into place, both Nadal and Federer would add another chapter to their illustrious rivalry.
The player that was discussed that would pose the biggest threat to this potential semifinal showdown was none other than tennis' Greek Freak, Stefanos Tsitsipas. The Greek number one had already beaten Federer at a major this year and was coming off of a brilliant clay court season which saw him reach at least the semifinals of his last three events (including a title in Estoril and a final in Madrid).
Stan Wawrinka dispatched the Greek in an epic five-setter which will surely go down as one of the matches of the year, setting up an all-Swiss showdown with Federer. The two met today as well as Nadal taking on Kei Nishikori which help set up what will surely be an epic semifinal Friday on the men's side.
Nadal Makes Light Work Of Nishikori
It's no secret that the further Nadal goes into a tournament, the more confidence he gains. The Japanese number one had the arduous task of trying to take down the King of Clay after having played back-to-back five-setters against Laslo Djere and Benoit Paire.
Nadal stormed out to a quick 3-0 lead and flew out to a 6-1 opening set. The second set looked to be more of the same after a break of serve to start, but Nishikori came out of nowhere to break right back showing signs of life. Despite that, it was another dominant set from Nadal taking it 6-1 again.
There was slightly more from the Japanese number one in set three. He created four break chances in Nadal's opening service game and managed to fend off a couple on his serve, but once again the Spaniard rampaged his way to victory with only rain coming to delay the inevitable.
Federer Battles To Take Out Wawrinka
It was another tale of missed break points for Federer, but this time, he wasn't made to pay. The opening set against his Swiss compatriot, he was dominant on serve but could not convert on his four break chances. Federer looked shaky in key moments but managed to claw out the first set tiebreak.
This time, a missed opportunity early on in the second got to Federer as Wawrinka broke straight after that rued miss. That let Wawrinka take control of the second set, and we were in for at least a four strong sets.
The third set saw Wawrinka grab control again for 4-3 but was immediately broken back this time. Another tiebreaker ensued and that's when Federer started changing his tactics. The 20-time Grand Slam champion went more serve and volley on second serves and then also started to take the Wawrinka second serve on his forehand side, taking the breaker 7-5.
There was little between the two men in the fourth set, but the story once again was Federer missing break points. He had five in Wawrinka's first three service games including four in his second but could not get the break. Rain came along at 3-3 in the set.
The three-time Grand Slam champion held his nerve in being able to hold after the delay but errors crept in to get broken in the ninth game. Federer faced one break point but was able to win in four.