For the 58th time since 2006 and the second this year, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic will share the court in Friday’s Roland Garros semi-final. Rafa and Novak were the favorites when the draw came out, and they had to share the half and allow Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev to fight for the second spot in the final. Nadal took down Diego Schwartzman 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-0 to advance into the 14th Roland Garros semi-final and set another clash against his greatest rival a couple of weeks after beating Novak in the final at the Rome Open.
Speaking about world no. 1, Nadal said it would have been better if they met in the title clash, as one of them still has to face another formidable rival two days later in the big final. Rafa reminded that he knows Novak very well and that anything can happen in their duels. Last October, Nadal toppled Djokovic in the Roland Garros final in straight sets, beating the Serb 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 to secure the milestone 20th Major trophy and match Roger Federer’s record. Novak couldn’t do much in the opening two sets, and it was too late for a comeback in the third, as Nadal broke him twice to cross the finish line. The Serb played on a high level in Paris in the previous five matches this year and will try to beat the Spaniard for the second time at Roland Garros.
Rafael Nadal would have loved to face Novak Djokovic in the Roland Garros final.
“I would have preferred to face Novak in the final, mainly because you are already in the title match. In the semis, you have one more encounter after that en route to the title. Even if you win the semis, you still have to produce another triumph to get the trophy. Novak is a formidable opponent, and if you beat him, you have to face another rival from the top. Novak and I know each other well. In this type of match, anything can happen. Whoever brings the better tennis will have bigger chances to win. It’s a crucial encounter for both of us, and the most significant difference is that it’s only the semis; the winner still has a lot to do after that. My numbers here in Paris are staggering, but I can’t think about them right now. It’s time to be happy today, as I beat a tough rival and played my best tennis in crucial moments; that gives me confidence,” Rafael Nadal said.