Two old enemies will once again do battle in a Grand Slam, as Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal will take to the courts for a place in the French Tennis Open final. Two of the most decorated players of all time will be battling it out in front of what is sure to be a packed arena.
Rafael Nadal has won the last two French Tennis Open’s, and his legacy on the clay surface could be extended with another title this year. He has already won eleven titles at the tournament- more than any other player in the history of the game. The Spaniard has breezed through the competition up to this point; losing only one set in the process. His dominance knows no boundaries, and his price of 0.55 with BetXchange to win the whole tournament is justified.
Nadal overcame German opponents in the opening two rounds in the forms of Yannick Hanfmann and Yannick Maden. His stiffest test to date came in the next round against David Goffin; where after winning the first two sets he let his standard slip to lose his one and only set of the competition so far. However, like all champions, he recovered emphatically and won the next to book his spot in the round of 16 against Juan Ignacio Londero; whom he breezed past in straight sets. Seventh-seed Kei Nishikori was his opponent for the quarterfinals, as the Japanese player upset all the odds to reach this stage. However, there was no sentiment from Nadal and he delivered a masterclass of clay tennis to win 6-1, 6-1, 6-3.
Federer’s technique is like a fine wine; he only improves with time. There is no doubting the quality of the Swiss, but this year’s French Tennis Open has all the possibilities of being one of his finest hours. He has looked irrepressible on the court and dominated every opponent that has been put in his path. While Federer has won 20 Grand Slams throughout his career; his record in the French Tennis Open will be something that he would want to change. He has only won once for the current event, with that victory coming ten years ago in the 2009 tournament.
The Swiss player overcame the unseeded pair of Lorenzo Sonego and Oscar Otte in the opening two round, before sweeping aside Casper Ruud after a third set tiebreak. He met Leonardo Mayer in the round of 16. His service during this match was impeccable, scoring five aces. In the quarterfinals, he came up against his compatriot Stan Wawrinka, and the two veterans put on a Grand Slam classic. Federer won 3-1 in the end, but that only tells half the story. The first two sets that were won by Federer were won in tiebreakers after gruelling sets; just further demonstrating that the 37-year-old has the ability to go the distance in the big matches.
Head to Head
The overall record in matches between the pair is fascinating; with Nadal holding the narrow advantage of 23 wins to Federer’s 15. However, the Spaniard has not beaten the Swiss player since the 2014 Australian Open. That being said, Nadal has won all five previous meetings between the superstars at Roland Garros.
This has all the makings of being a French Tennis Open classic. You have two of the best players to have ever graced the court in a massive Grand Slam setting, and both of them are in the best form they could possibly be in. However, Nadal’s record on clay can’t be ignored and he will eventually overcome Federer in a competitive four-set match.