World number one Novak Djokovic and seven-time champion Rafael Nadal clash in a French Open semi-final that promises to be another epic contest between two of the finest players on the ATP tour. Join us for live scores from 9.00pm AEST.
It is a match-up more befitting a final and it may well end up being the decisive match in the tournament, given that whoever wins tonight will be a very strong favourite to take out the 2013 French Open.
Nadal has enjoyed a wonderful season after returning from injury several months ago and is once again just two matches away from winning a remarkable eighth French Open title.
The Spaniard however will firstly have to get past the only player that has defeated him on clay this season if he is to keep his French Open campaign alive.
Although Nadal possesses a strong 12-3 head to head record against Djokovic on clay, the Serb really is the only player on tour that can stand toe to toe against Nadal on this surface and win.
Djokovic’s victory over Nadal in the Montecarlo Masters final in April this year proves that the Serb possesses the artillery necessary to dethrone Nadal from his insurmountable perch at Roland Garros.
The Djokovic – Nadal rivalry has gone up a few levels over the past couple of years so we should expect another titanic tussle of the highest quality tonight.
Both of these players are very evenly matched both physically and mentally, with neither player expected to give an inch on centre court
While Nadal will start as favourite, Djokovic is a real chance of upsetting the Spaniard tonight, particularly if he pins Nadal deep on the baseline with his terrific groundstrokes.
On his day, Djokovic has shown that he can dominate Nadal with his deep angled groundstrokes off the forehand and backhand side.
Add Djokovic’s terrific ability to cover almost every ball hit his way and one can see why the Serb really is the only player that can beat Nadal on clay.
In saying that, Nadal’s record at Roland Garros speaks for itself. No player in Tennis history has dominated an event or a surface much like the Spaniard has at the French Open.
His high tempo play, coupled with his terrific whipping forehand and strong backhand down the line are weapons that has allowed Nadal to conquer Roland Garros time and time again.
With this in mind, it is imperative that Djokovic wins the first set against Nadal.
If the Serb finds himself a set down, his chances of beating Nadal on clay appear remote, even for a player of his outstanding qualities.
If Djokovic were to win the first set however, the Serb chances of causing the upset would increase significantly, to the point where the world number one should be favoured to win the contest.
Whichever way you look at it, tonight’s semi-final should once again present us with another memorable chapter in the Djokovic – Nadal rivalry.
Djokovic to win in five sets.