• Nadal takes on Wawrinka for French Open semifinals

    6/5/13 4:31 AM | Cheryl Murray
    Nadal takes on Wawrinka for French Open semifinals Rafael Nadal is one match away from doing his part to set up the highly anticipated semifinal with Novak Djokovic...but first he will take on Switzerland's Stanislas Wawrinka.

    World No. 4 Rafael Nadal goes into his quarterfinal match against Stanislas Wawrinka with the knowledge that he has owned the Swiss man over the course of their careers.

    Wawrinka matches up poorly with Nadal. Like countryman Roger Federer, Wawrinka has a one-handed backhand that is highly susceptible to Nadal's heavy forehand. The two men have played nine times on both hard court and clay; Wawrinka has never taken a set from Nadal.

    Their last meeting came a couple of weeks ago in the final of Madrid. Nadal won 6-2, 6-4 to take the title.

    Another thing in Nadal's favor is that Wawrinka spent more than 4 hours on court in his 5-set match against Richard Gasquet, while Nadal had a easy straight-sets win over Kei Nishikori.

    Prediction - Nadal in straight sets.

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rafaisthebest , 6/5/13 7:21 AM

I wish straight sets victory

rafaelo , 6/5/13 7:30 AM

Yes, vamos Rafa! All the best to you all the way! Go get your eighth title here!

luckystar , 6/5/13 7:36 AM

#Vamos Rafa

nadline , 6/5/13 7:56 AM

Mats says this is the contest of the day because Magnus Norman coaches Wawa and he knows exactly what Wawa should do like he told Sod to do.

We'll see. U. Toni is not that stupid either.

nadline , 6/5/13 8:25 AM

^^Re: Mats, hope springs eternal!

rafaisthebest , 6/5/13 8:42 AM

For Nadal's sake, Wawrinka'd better play his best, although I'm not so sure about the one handed backhand players against Rafa. Against Wawrinka he is 9-0, against Gasquet he is 10-0, against Almagro, who is also a lefty, he is 10-0, against Haas he is 5-0 and against Kohlschreiber he is 9-1. I just hope Wawrinka gives Rafa a match!

childishgambino , 6/5/13 10:01 AM

^^^ agree child, I want to see a competitive match. I really got bored watching Rafa butchering everyone with loftsided scoreline like 0-1-2. NO THRILL. I learnt to enjoy watching him fighting every point, a rollercoaster kind of a's more fun, more exciting. Matter of fact I didn't enjoy his 4th round match against Kie at all so I didn't post at all during that match.

Raindrops , 6/5/13 10:28 AM

what a 0 traffic thread!!!! it's strange!

rafaelo , 6/5/13 10:29 AM

"against Almagro, who is also a lefty, he is 10-0,"

LOL! now almagro is a lefty according to the resident rafatard expert. I wonder what the septuagenarian rafatards ed/new-yapper/constipator/mold serve have to say about such expert tennis opinions.

Fedkovic23 , 6/5/13 10:35 AM

Almagro is right-handed, one handed backhand. my mistake... I was thinking about Verdasco...

childishgambino , 6/5/13 10:38 AM

Stay concentrated and fight bravely, Rafa!


Augustina08 , 6/5/13 10:40 AM

dont worry childishrafatard, your cronies - the ones I mentioned above will hail you as a tennis expert in the rafatard world. Most of those negative IQ tards are not even smart enough to own up to their mistakes.

Fedkovic23 , 6/5/13 11:13 AM

I'm not an expert, I'm an admirer of the sport. I don't understand a few things though... like why are you being such a bitch? Is this your day job, trolling online tennis boards? Why the hate for Rafa, are you really that gay for Federer? Thank you, and you're welcome.

childishgambino , 6/5/13 11:19 AM

you know Federer is married, no? also has kids.

childishgambino , 6/5/13 11:22 AM

Reading that today is the warmest day at RG, is this true? ed251137, please can you confirm if this is the forecast. If this is the case, good because Rafa can practice timing his ground strokes and let's hope it stays warm to Friday.........

rafaisthebest , 6/5/13 11:27 AM

Lol if u want a roller coaster match every time, suggest u get on the Murray Battle Bus right away ;)
Come on Rafa, we all know which semi finalists we want. No disrespect to Stan intended.

deuce , 6/5/13 11:30 AM

I find myself in the strange position of rooting for Rafa and Ferru to get to the finals and yet am dreading this final match-up! Going by Ferru's recent strong game, I honestly was hoping for Fed to emerge from that half.

rafaisthebest , 6/5/13 11:41 AM

Rafa playing at the same time as Nole. Serious bummer for men's tennis fans.

cherylmurray , 6/5/13 12:21 PM

I was thinking the same, but I have a feeling Rafa's match won't be nearly as interesting as Djok's match.

childishgambino , 6/5/13 12:38 PM

There's no world in which Nadal is losing this match, if he loses a set I'll be surprised! I also think Djokovic will beat Haas, although that match will be closer.

rbennett , 6/5/13 12:40 PM

I have always wondered why the French schedule their quarterfinals(for both men and women) simultaneously. I think it's the only slam that does it.(aside from Wimbledon, but they have all the quarterfinals on the same day I believe).

tj600 , 6/5/13 12:52 PM

ritb: My mole confirms it is sunny in Paris and warming up nicely. Even better the risk of thunderstorms for Friday (shown on long range forecast yesterday) has dissipated and it promises to be even hotter. Could be windy though. Fingers crossed :-)

ed251137 , 6/5/13 1:12 PM

Excellent, thanks ed251137.

rafaisthebest , 6/5/13 1:19 PM

Good luck, Rafa in your match today! I know you will be your rafabulous self!!

VAM8S, Champ!!!

Monalysa , 6/5/13 1:28 PM

tj600, this schedule was designed to give Fed 2 days rest before the SF................all the best made plans.

nadline , 6/5/13 1:48 PM

The scheduling is a real pain. Yesterday I managed to keep an eye on both matches but today there is no way I am taking my eyes off the TV screen for a second.

Does anybody know which match Eurosport will feature? I'm assuming they will stay with Phillip Chartrier matches.

ed251137 , 6/5/13 1:50 PM

Eurosport has 2 channels so they will show both but I don't whether you've got access to both in France.

nadline , 6/5/13 1:58 PM

I'll be skipping from one channel to the other but Rafa's match will be my main focus of course................

rafaisthebest , 6/5/13 2:01 PM

my tv channel is showing SL right now!

rafaelo , 6/5/13 2:17 PM

Unlike my friend Rain, I don't want any thrills...straight sets is my wish so Rafa can conserve energy for the SF.

Vamos in 3!!!

phoenix , 6/5/13 2:32 PM

masha is getting punched on PC :-s

rafaelo , 6/5/13 2:36 PM

I think after his fairly easy 3 setter, Nadal could use more of a challenge, you know? In terms of preparation for his semi final match...

childishgambino , 6/5/13 2:42 PM

#Sugarpova crush...........

rafaisthebest , 6/5/13 2:42 PM

Don't worry, Stan will take it to Rafa today. You don't get to your first clay Slam quarter final and lay down for anybody. And clay is Stan's favourite surface so..........

rafaisthebest , 6/5/13 2:46 PM

I'll be watching SL on my laptop and Rafa on the screen.

nadline , 6/5/13 2:47 PM

now i've a lot to blame if your wishes are granted and i end up at the back of deuce's sofa most of the match time...

phoenix , 6/5/13 2:53 PM

Thanks Nadline: Unfortunately I cancelled Eurosport 2 TV channel subscription because I can normally pick it up on Eurosport Player (much cheaper!) but it's blacked out during RG :-( Ditto the ATP subscripton TV channel.

Some livestreaming sites let me in for a while but are also liable to sudden blackouts. Eurosport 2 in France is controlled by Sky which probably accounts for this.

Deuce says she can watch on ITV4 but my satellite system is up the creek. Hey ho.

ed251137 , 6/5/13 3:07 PM

Talking of blackouts, seemingly there is a news blackout on the state of WaWa's thigh injury. Cant find any reference to current state of affairs at all.

ed251137 , 6/5/13 3:11 PM

strong come back from masha

rafaelo , 6/5/13 3:11 PM

ed, I know he's had problems with his thigh but why do you think there is any news to blackout?

nadline , 6/5/13 3:16 PM

nadal in 3

isfand , 6/5/13 3:22 PM

maria disappointed me :D

rafaelo , 6/5/13 3:23 PM

Why doesn't the WTA have it's own Slam schedule? Why do we have to be put through this?

rafaisthebest , 6/5/13 3:48 PM

So SL is now ready for Novak/Haas and Shriekapova is still waddling all over Chatrier.....

rafaisthebest , 6/5/13 4:07 PM

Both men's matches will start at the same time.

nadline , 6/5/13 4:09 PM

Oh thank you, it's over........Rafa time.

rafaisthebest , 6/5/13 4:11 PM

the roller coasters will start to move on in a few minutes :D

rafaelo , 6/5/13 4:13 PM

I think my tv will be showing nole's :(((( so sad:((
please keep me updated

rafaelo , 6/5/13 4:23 PM

guys :|

rafaelo , 6/5/13 4:32 PM

nadline: I was just curious why so little has been said since it was very much in the news leading up to RG and he had to take an MTO for treatment in the Gasquet match. C'est tout.

Problem over. Eurosport 1 is covering the most important match.

ed251137 , 6/5/13 4:33 PM

VAMOS good start

willmw101 , 6/5/13 4:39 PM

rafa breaks early vamooooos
but djokovic is outstanding

rafaelo , 6/5/13 4:39 PM

I would say that was a clear 'don't mess with me' message.

ed251137 , 6/5/13 4:39 PM

how is rafa looking? sharp enough?

rafaelo , 6/5/13 4:42 PM

Razor sharp!!!!!!!!!!!!

ed251137 , 6/5/13 4:44 PM

Ok, Good I wanted to know about Rafa's game; but Haas seems to be holding his own for now!

Monalysa , 6/5/13 4:48 PM

rafa has started really really well

vamosrafa , 6/5/13 4:48 PM

Hope he keeps it up!

Monalysa , 6/5/13 4:50 PM

thanks god :)
@ Monalysa, he is doing it the hard way! and the point is novak is too calm and hitting great

rafaelo , 6/5/13 4:52 PM

But 2 UEs in 3 games :-(

now another one in 4th game

Dont believe it, French TV has switched to Djokovic match.

ed251137 , 6/5/13 4:52 PM

first break for djoko

rafaelo , 6/5/13 4:54 PM

When rafa is hitting his backhand as good as this, he can destroy anyone

vamosrafa , 6/5/13 4:54 PM

@ Vamosrafa

Thats encouraging!!!

Monalysa , 6/5/13 4:55 PM

rafa will win this match for sure,

But real test is with djokovic,

anji123 , 6/5/13 4:55 PM

thank you for your running commentary, I'll be watching this match taped tonight

I hope Rafa has an easy 3 setter while practicing all the strokes he wants to in preparation for Djokovic or Haas. Who are we kidding: Djokovic :-).

chlorostoma , 6/5/13 4:57 PM

first set djoker!

rafaelo , 6/5/13 4:58 PM

Novak has already won the first set!!! 63

Monalysa , 6/5/13 4:59 PM

another break for rafa! vamoooos

rafaelo , 6/5/13 5:02 PM

How well is Rafa playing people?

Monalysa , 6/5/13 5:03 PM

keep me updated pleaaaaaaassssseee! how is rafa? are the shots deep enough? is he going for DTL?

rafaelo , 6/5/13 5:09 PM

His flying...................................Go Rafa, Go

ed251137 , 6/5/13 5:09 PM

No one is saying how Rafa is playing!!! I mean is he going for his shots and is he playing deep?!! People come on!!!!

Monalysa , 6/5/13 5:12 PM

he lost a couple of break points though

rafaelo , 6/5/13 5:14 PM

Why is this game soooooooooo slow compared to the other one?!!!

Monalysa , 6/5/13 5:14 PM

Mona: Call up the Slamtracker livescoring on the ATP site. You'll like the stats.

But Rafa just let several chances to break to take the set.

ed251137 , 6/5/13 5:16 PM

6-2, 1st set Rafa.


rafaisthebest , 6/5/13 5:16 PM

Theres not much to say, Nadal hasn't had to work for this first set. Wawrinka is trying to be aggressive but failing. Nadal is more consistent than previously if anything. No crazy UE's on easy shots like in previous matches. So overall yes he is playing better - but i think its just his confidence is higher.

DeadManWalking , 6/5/13 5:18 PM

Monalysa, Rafa is playing very well..the depth on shots is good ! backhand cross court has been on fire.Forehand has been good too but he can go up a level in terms of aggression..ROS is also good so far...

vamosrafa , 6/5/13 5:19 PM

Serving is very good, that's all i can say so far.

Stan broke a racket already.

Vamos Rafa

Raindrops , 6/5/13 5:19 PM

He's constructing the points superbly. Uncle Toni is yawning he's so relaxed. lol.

ed251137 , 6/5/13 5:30 PM

Just a little loose in set 2 so far...shots lacking depth ...I want to see more aggression from the forehand. He should go DTL and inside out more often ..

vamosrafa , 6/5/13 5:30 PM

Break, Rafa,

RT @bgtennisnation: "Rafa looking so solid all over Stan the Man his fearhand to The Bachand doing lots of damage + much warmer higher bounce of the ball perfect "

rafaisthebest , 6/5/13 5:31 PM

rafa breaks :)
is rafa defending or is he aggressive?

rafaelo , 6/5/13 5:31 PM

Thank you guys for the commentary!!

Monalysa , 6/5/13 5:32 PM

Yes, rafa is serving really well too..

vamosrafa , 6/5/13 5:35 PM

Where are our multiname friends ;-) ?

chlorostoma , 6/5/13 5:36 PM

Stan not really looking as though he believes he can turn this round. However he is reading Rafa's service better and picking up a more points with his return.

ed251137 , 6/5/13 5:39 PM

why is rafa not holding comfortably? what is happening?

rafaelo , 6/5/13 5:43 PM

chloro: They dont actually watch tennis, they just wait for the outcome. Unless WaWa turns the tables on Rafa you wont see them for dust.

ed251137 , 6/5/13 5:43 PM

Both Stan and Haas look like they are ready to go down fighting!!!............ummmmmm!!!

Monalysa , 6/5/13 5:45 PM

secind set to nole

rafaelo , 6/5/13 5:48 PM

Stan breaks back, settle down for a fight folks............even stevens 2nd set...

rafaisthebest , 6/5/13 5:49 PM

rafa's level has dropped off a bit

willmw101 , 6/5/13 5:49 PM

OOOHHHHH no! rafa focous

rafaelo , 6/5/13 5:51 PM

Rafa breaks back, his DTL shots are in the house..........

rafaisthebest , 6/5/13 5:52 PM


Now is the moment he will step on the gas.

ed251137 , 6/5/13 5:52 PM

woooohoooo this what I like most heheheh break, got broken and rebreak hahahaha

Vamos !!!!

Raindrops , 6/5/13 5:53 PM


rafaelo , 6/5/13 5:53 PM

Consolidates, 5-3 Rafa

rafaisthebest , 6/5/13 5:56 PM

Rafa got mad when he got broken...HE HIT A SLAMDUNK at the net.

Vamos !!!

Raindrops , 6/5/13 5:58 PM

the other match will be over soon in favor of nole! god doesn't like me :(

rafaelo , 6/5/13 6:00 PM

second set in the bag

rafaelo , 6/5/13 6:02 PM

Rafa breaks, take the 2nd set 6-3

rafaisthebest , 6/5/13 6:02 PM

Great, my Champ!!


Monalysa , 6/5/13 6:03 PM

2-0 Rafa.

He is playing very good tennis.

Raindrops , 6/5/13 6:03 PM

hass breaks back!

rafaelo , 6/5/13 6:05 PM

Who knows, maybe Wawa is Robredo in disguise.........

rafaisthebest , 6/5/13 6:05 PM

@ Rain

Really like to hear that!!!

Novak too seems to be cruising although he just got broken by Haas after breaking Haas!!!

Monalysa , 6/5/13 6:06 PM

Stay focussed Rafa. It would be too boring to have to play a 4th set.

ed251137 , 6/5/13 6:06 PM

Rafa's backhand not looking great today. FH is great, but concerned about his confidence of the BH. Needs to be on form for Friday to dominate djokovic.

willmw101 , 6/5/13 6:09 PM

it looks like it is going to be rafa/nole! i am not happy with it but by the way, your takes?

rafaelo , 6/5/13 6:10 PM

I just love that first game of 3rd set. Very tight and finally nadal holds with that runaroundforhand.

Vamos !!!!

Raindrops , 6/5/13 6:13 PM

2-0 Rafa, 2nd set

rafaisthebest , 6/5/13 6:15 PM

@ Rafaelo

Why arent you happy with the possible semi?! Rafa and Novak cant avoid each other and by they way they are both playing they seem to both want to meet in the semis, so if they want to then so do I!!!!


Monalysa , 6/5/13 6:15 PM

wooooohooooooo i just love that almost-dead-get-a-ball to break

vamoooosss !!!

Raindrops , 6/5/13 6:16 PM

Pure vintage Rafa on the break point on Stan's serve.

ed251137 , 6/5/13 6:17 PM

Cruise control to ground control.................

ed251137 , 6/5/13 6:19 PM

yeah easy hold so far...3-0 3rd set.

Vamos !!!

Raindrops , 6/5/13 6:20 PM

Oooooooh, I'm s-s-s-s-s-ooooooooo sc-c-c-c-c-c-aaaared of Nole!!!

Whaet wood Rafa dooooo eef he haas to play Nole?????

So s-c-c-caaaaaared!


Conspirator , 6/5/13 6:20 PM

because the match up is not in favor of rafa anymore! He is not confident enough to confront nole yet after his injury!

rafaelo , 6/5/13 6:21 PM

4 zip Rafa....

rafaisthebest , 6/5/13 6:22 PM

haha nice point to reach breakpoint...

and there you go the double break. 4-0 3rd Set.

Vamos !!!

Raindrops , 6/5/13 6:23 PM

vamooos, another break :)
c'mon rafaaaaaa

rafaelo , 6/5/13 6:23 PM

@rafaelo, so what if Rafa loses to Novak? It will not be the end of the world. Chill, will ya.............

rafaisthebest , 6/5/13 6:24 PM

Rafa leads on the third 4-0 and has the serve.

grafight , 6/5/13 6:24 PM

5 zip Rafa.........

rafaisthebest , 6/5/13 6:25 PM

that's a mean smash Rafa meannnnn !!!

Raindrops , 6/5/13 6:26 PM

Nadal playing well better in this last set. Still think he needed one more match before nole, just so he could rofl stomp another player and get max confidence.

DeadManWalking , 6/5/13 6:26 PM

nole serving for the match, unbelievable play from him, his best on clay after 2011.

akd2011 , 6/5/13 6:27 PM

of course it will not be the end of the world ;) I'm just saying! he is my favorite player and i am concerned. nothing more ;) I just hope we will be able too watch a high quality matvh :)

rafaelo , 6/5/13 6:28 PM

^ sorry guys, wrong thread ...

akd2011 , 6/5/13 6:28 PM

Nice exchanges at the net, though rafa lost it, still he was smiling because he almost win the point...


Raindrops , 6/5/13 6:29 PM

Why are we talking about Rafa losing to Nole?!!! Lets see if he loses first b4 we discuss it! Nole fans aint gonna be talking about losing to Rafa, y r we?!!! The matches arent even finished yet and we are already writng Rafa's obituary!!!

On match at a time!!

Monalysa , 6/5/13 6:29 PM

At least WaWa saved himself from being bagelled............

ed251137 , 6/5/13 6:30 PM

Hass breaks :)))) this shows nole is nervous too :D

rafaelo , 6/5/13 6:31 PM

hahaha, too funny to that one

Raindrops , 6/5/13 6:33 PM

Just what the doctor ordered. Straight sets in under two hours.


ed251137 , 6/5/13 6:33 PM

GSM, Rafa.

Just what he needed just before the semi....

Rafa started after Nole/Haas but he has finished before them....

rafaisthebest , 6/5/13 6:33 PM


I cant believe Rafa's match finished ahead of Nole's!!!

Monalysa , 6/5/13 6:34 PM


rafaelo , 6/5/13 6:34 PM

And its over Rafa wins 6-2, 6-3, 6-1 Vamos!

grafight , 6/5/13 6:35 PM

V solid performance from Rafa. Will still need to up the level quite a lot against Djokovic but if rafa is anywhere near 100% he should beat novak in straights or 4 sets at a push.

willmw101 , 6/5/13 6:36 PM

VAMOS Rafaaaaa!!!!!!


Conspirator , 6/5/13 6:36 PM

Hey come the other match still in progress? :-)

He is very much ready for semifinals, no doubt.

Vamos Rafa !!!

Raindrops , 6/5/13 6:37 PM

congrats all of rafans :)
vamooos, just stay calm and focussed

rafaelo , 6/5/13 6:37 PM

LOL look who is talking?

Raindrops , 6/5/13 6:39 PM

@ Rain,

I know right?!!

Monalysa , 6/5/13 6:40 PM

The real Rafa was on court today. He played a magnificent match and Djokovic will have to up his level if he is to stand any chance against Rafa.

Vamos Rafa!

nadline , 6/5/13 6:43 PM

So are ready for the semis Mona? See you again at Semis. We need someone like you to be around during any possible eventualities LOL.

Raindrops , 6/5/13 6:43 PM

Rafa had ice in his veins today. He was just ice-cold...............


rafaisthebest , 6/5/13 6:44 PM

Now can anyone analyse the two matches and say who played better? And based on their matches who has a better chance of winning the semi!!

If you ask me i'll say Rafa but u know me...........Im baised!!!


Monalysa , 6/5/13 6:44 PM

@ nadline , 6/5/13 6:43 PM

Willow doesnt think so!!!..........hehehe!!!

Monalysa , 6/5/13 6:46 PM

So looking forward to Friday. VAMOS

willmw101 , 6/5/13 6:46 PM

Monalysa doesn't think anything, so theres that.

willmw101 , 6/5/13 6:48 PM

Still think he needed one more match before nole, just so he could rofl stomp another player and get max confidence.

DeadManWalking , 6/5/13 6:26 PM

I disagree, he is ready. It's time. He was in the zone today. Controlled aggression, no excessive show of emotion. He will erupt on Friday.

rafaisthebest , 6/5/13 6:50 PM

willow never has anything positive to say about Rafa, so no surprises there.

Rusedski thinks Djoker played's irrelevant what spin people put on their performances despite the scoreline. What matters is what happens on Friday.

nadline , 6/5/13 6:51 PM

Amen to that, RIBT!!

Monalysa , 6/5/13 6:51 PM

BRAVO RAFA! We are ready for Nole!

Vamos Rafa!!!

natashao , 6/5/13 6:52 PM

Congrats folks . So the dream semi the real final is ready for us.

Anybodys game, lets c who plays better that day.

I hope they schedule Rafa Nole before Ferrer-Tsonga

sanju , 6/5/13 6:52 PM


there is one interesting pic of Rafa just for girls

goran , 6/5/13 6:53 PM

No, they will schedule Rafa/Nole after Ferru/Tsonga, at least they's the blue ribbon match.

rafaisthebest , 6/5/13 6:54 PM

nagline's on her high horse again.

willmw101 , 6/5/13 6:56 PM

Both Rafa and Nole can and probably will raise their game even more. Rafa could improve a little on UE. First serve was great. Mentally he looked unstoppable. Nole had to work a bit harder, even though Hass, like Wawa, had just come out of a grueling match in the previous round. I see Rafa as the favorite to win in 4 hard fought sets. Nole may play better than Rafa, even make more winners and total points, but Rafa will win the crucial points in the set ends and TBs.

grafight , 6/5/13 6:57 PM

Eager to hear Emilianos take? Emiliano- you there?

sanju , 6/5/13 6:59 PM

Difficult to compare the two. Stan offers lesser resistance to Rafa than Haas offers to Nole IMO. Rafa plays well except that he needs to improve his serves, especially the second serve. In set two and set three, he has a bit of problem holding serves. Overall, Rafa looks sharp but I feel he needs to move nearer to the baseline.

Nole plays well today, looking sharp, in fact the best he has played this tournament. He shows even more varieties today than Haas, throwing in some nice drop shots. Haas shows his age against this Nole, who runs faster than him, serves and returns better than him. Haas has his chances to win the second set when he pushed it to a tie break but isn't good enough to take it. Nole seems nervous when serving for the match and ends up losing his serve and has to fight to close it.

I think if Rafa stays calm, serves well, he'll have a slight edge over Nole despite his match up problem with Nole.

luckystar , 6/5/13 7:02 PM

Well done to Rafa and his fans! Thought Rafa was good and Stan the man was quite poor. Got no idea who will win the semi-final, could go either way but should be closer then last year as Djokovic is playing better this year and Nadal a little worse.

rbennett , 6/5/13 7:04 PM

RT @SteveTignor: "Q: "Does it feel like a final to you against Novak?" Nadal: "No. We're going to play a semifinal." #rg13"

If Rafa brings this ice-cold demeanor on Friday, Novak is toast. Agree with @grafight, Novak may get more winners, win more points but Rafa will nail the important points.


rafaisthebest , 6/5/13 7:06 PM

RT @SteveTignor: "Q: "Does it feel like a final to you against Novak?" Nadal: "No. We're going to play a semifinal." #rg13"

Love that

willmw101 , 6/5/13 7:08 PM

Today Rafa played much better than so far!

Vamos Rafa!!!

Augustina08 , 6/5/13 7:11 PM

goran, I don't think that website is "just for girls" ;)

grafight , 6/5/13 7:11 PM

Rafa just shrugged his shoulders when told that Nole was leading by 2 sets to love and was likely to be his SF opponent.

nadline , 6/5/13 7:14 PM

No drama Nadal.

rafaisthebest , 6/5/13 7:17 PM

He must have been playing well - even Wills couldn't find much to harangue him for today. lol.

I only caught the odd few minutes here and there so cant comment on Nole. Looking at the stats, it does look like he slacked off a bit in the third set. I bet he was surprised at having to work as hard as he did against the old man of tennis. However, he's clearly been working on his serve. 11 aces and no DFs is mighty impressive and he was winning a high percentage of points on his 2nd serve too.

There's no point crystal ball gazing about Friday. The only thing which is a given is that it will be fiercely competitive.

ed251137 , 6/5/13 7:17 PM

^^^is it a good sign or what?

rafaelo , 6/5/13 7:17 PM

Should be two competitive semi finals. My take is a Rafa vs Ferrer final on Sunday. I feel the two Spaniards are playing well throughout this European clay season, they're sharp enough to handle their opponents in the semifinals.

luckystar , 6/5/13 7:23 PM

People, Rafa believes he can win this!! I have this feeling that Rafa is looking forward to playing Nole. He has paced himself well, he played Stan as well as he needed to so he will bring it all in the semis. I know Rafa always plays his best against the top three!! Have some faith, guys!!! Geeze!!


Monalysa , 6/5/13 7:23 PM

I would be happy if it is competitive! not like monte carlo first set!

rafaelo , 6/5/13 7:24 PM

rafaelo..I can bet u will look 30 by FRiday end of day, you will stress that much :-)

Take it easy, its just a tennis match

sanju , 6/5/13 7:27 PM

Match stats:

Winners/UEs: 31:17

The only stat which needs attention is the break point conversion stat.

Solid match.


rafaisthebest , 6/5/13 7:27 PM

I predict a Ferrer win and that Rafa vs Djokovic will go to 5, that is all.

rbennett , 6/5/13 7:28 PM

If Rafa had beaten Haas 63 76 75 and Nole had beaten Wawrinka 62 63 61 the reaction would haVe been very different. Rafa would have been slaughtered on the blogs and written off totally for SF and Nole would have been hailed as invincible.

Not that it has any relevance to the outcome on Friday, I'm just saying.

nadline , 6/5/13 7:29 PM

At least they'll stop telling us that Magnus Norman is the guru with the solution for beating Rafa at RG. Imagine if Stan had won today, Magnus would have had a waiting list for his coaching. As it happens, he doesn't have any answers and has admitted in an interview I saw on VB that Rafa wasn't playing 100% when Sod beat him in 2009.

nadline , 6/5/13 7:33 PM

nadline , 6/5/13 7:29 PM

Hahahaha! You're so right, it's so quiet on the blogosphere. There is almost an air of resignation. Now the media is resorting to checking the state of the weather on Friday:

RT @SI_BTBaseline: " Supposed to be the warmest day of the tournament on Friday. Happy Birthday, Rafa. #RG13"

Gosh, if you are going to hang your fav's prospects on the wind's direction..............

rafaisthebest , 6/5/13 7:41 PM

nadline, you're absolutely right. The Soderling defeat at RR was an aberration. As we all know the story and the circumstances of that match. It will forever remain just a bit of trivia that shows that Nadal is not superhuman. After that match even Borg predicted that Soderling would one day be #1 and Grand Slam champion. So much for that.

grafight , 6/5/13 7:41 PM

It won't be like MC. MC came after Rafa's long four weeks break and he was not ready to face Nole back then. At the FO and at the SF stage, Rafa is ready to face anyone!

To me, this Rafa looks calmer than the Rafa last year, because 1) Rafa was going for his no.7 FO to surpass Borg last year; 2) he won't want to lose to Nole in four consecutive slams so he really had that added pressure of winning the FO. Nole was also feeling the pressure last year, as he had his chance of a Nole slam and a career slam.

Nole seems to feel the pressure too this year. He was tensed when serving for the match vs Haas and lost his serve and had to do it again a second time. If Rafa stays calm and plays freely (and that's important because once he's calm, he can think with a clearer mind on court), he'll win.

luckystar , 6/5/13 7:42 PM

If Rafa stays calm and plays freely (and that's important because once he's calm, he can think with a clearer mind on court), he'll win.

luckystar , 6/5/13 7:42 PM

Totally agree. I like Rafa's mindset right now. This is just another semi-final and he will approach it as he approaches other semis, with calm and maximum concentration. If he playes his best, he will win. If he does not, he will lose and move on to the next tournament. Nobody will die.

rafaisthebest , 6/5/13 7:49 PM

Nadal: "I am more calm today now that I'm competing for bigger things than I was one week ago." #RG13

Beyond The Baseline ?@SI_BTBaseline 11m Supposed to be the warmest day of the tournament on Friday. Happy Birthday, Rafa. #RG13

Randy Walker ?@TennisPublisher 50m ?The weather is warmer, the bounces are higher, it is better for me?? Rafael Nadal to ESPN2's Mary Joe Fernandez on Roland Garros 2nd week

Djokovic re SF: "Everything has to work in harmony... I know what it takes to win." #RG13

Djokovic re SF: I always think I have a good chance... I need to serve well. I know my game plan." #RG13

sanju , 6/5/13 7:49 PM

Rafa won't be calm...we cannot expect him to enter such an anticipated match with "calm"...Rafa is human...however, Nole will not be calm let's see who of them will handle better the start of the match...I believe Rafa will gradually gain his confidence during the match and his game will end up to be the best we have seen him play to date...he will simply peak when it matters because he is RAFA!
I really think that Rafa played great match today...I haven't seen Nole playing but I believe he was playing well...for Rafa it is most important that his forehand is clicking as Nole explores Rafa's forehand more than other players...Rafa won Madrid and Rome...this fact must reside in the back of the Nole's head and must make him a bit will be a battle of titans with Rafa wining it in the end...

Vamos Rafa!

natashao , 6/5/13 7:58 PM

Weather forecast for Friday:
max temperature: 27 degrees Celsius (80 degrees Fahrenheit),
wind: ENE 16 kmph

It's good weather for Rafa.

Augustina08 , 6/5/13 8:00 PM

Rafa played very well today. Serve had zip and was hitting the lines with his first serve. Lost serve only once. Crosscourt backhand was good from the first game . It was bouncing well and forehand was zip.

I will give edge to Rafa over Nole . I hope Rafa's serve is on . Again first set will be the key. Rafa needs to start the way he started and get ahead early.

My prediction. Rafa over Nole in 4 competitive sets

fedexal , 6/5/13 8:07 PM

@natashao Great post . Aptly put, nobody will be calm . Nole has a lot riding on this slam and Rafa won't be calm either. But clay will give Rafa time to get in groove and I expect there will be spells in the match where he will be all over Nole. I hope those spells come early.

I am very very happy with what I saw today.

fedexal , 6/5/13 8:13 PM

Neil Harman ?@NeilHarmanTimes 1h I don't know why but I have the very strangest feeling that....[no I can't bring myself to quite say his name] will win the men's singles

Whom do u think he is refering? Def not Rafa

sanju , 6/5/13 8:16 PM

I disagree. Rafa will be calm because he has to be calm otherwise he's toast. He has to approach Friday's match with the calm he approached the match with Wawa, on an even keel, just right, emotionally. Last week he was without calm and we know what happened.

Nerves will decide the semi. He who is on top of his will win.

rafaisthebest , 6/5/13 8:23 PM

Who cares what old Neil Harman thinks? He'll be a spectator, like the rest of us........

Vamos Rafa!

rafaisthebest , 6/5/13 8:26 PM

Have a bad feeling about Friday! I keep getting these Wimbledon 2011 flashbacks. If Novak gets going in the match quicker than Rafa then he could be two sets up and coasting in no time. Hope I'm wrong but why do I always get these bad feelings about Rafa against Novak. Everyone else on tour I never sweat about cus I know Rafa's got the calm and game to come through.

rafakid , 6/5/13 8:32 PM

Exactly RITB! If Rafa was not calm after he lost his first sets in R1 and R2 matches, and almost lost the first set in R3 match, he won't be beating his opponents. The initial nerves will always be there, but whoever calms down first will be able to play his game better and has the chance to surge ahead.

Nole was not exactly calm today vs Haas. I'm sure this time round, he'll be more nervous than Rafa, with the career slam at stake(and Nole was talking about his destiny at the beginning of this FO). Rafa can always win the FO another time now that he already has seven, what's more important for Rafa is the confidence that he can play well and make it a match even if he has to lose it. As long as he plays well, he'll be confident that he'll have his chances at the other slams.

In fact for Rafa, playing on clay is a lot more pressurizing for him, now that he has created a clay monster himself and everyone expects him to win. We see that once he lose a match on clay, almost everyone is making a big fuss about it. I bet if he lose a match at Halle, or at the HC events, no one would kick up a big fuss about it. I think Rafa will be more relaxed playing on grass and HCs, as not many people expect him to win, especially against the top guys.

luckystar , 6/5/13 8:37 PM

Rafakid..Let me remind you that you said the same for Rafa against Nishikori too that u got a bad feeling

I mean not even 1 Novak fan has said that Novak will lose to Rafa but so many Rafans have alreday started giving advantage to Novak

sanju , 6/5/13 8:42 PM

Rafa can always win the FO another time now that he already has seven, what's more important for Rafa is the confidence that he can play well and make it a match even if he has to lose it. As long as he plays well, he'll be confident that he'll have his chances at the other slams.
luckystar , 6/5/13 8:37 PM

Bullseye! I think this is what Uncle Toni and the rest have been telling Rafa this past week, that there is no need for him to be nervous, that he is already the alltime RG record holder, that what is important is for him to play well so that he gives himself chances. He has nothing more to prove.

Like he said post match, he will be playing a semi final against Novak. That's it.

Let the games begin!

rafaisthebest , 6/5/13 8:47 PM

Serenas coack Patrick has picked Jo n Nole to win

sanju , 6/5/13 8:49 PM

If it had not rained last RG Rafa would have won in 3 sets and his record would have stood 7-0 in terms of sets played on clay last year. Now thats a pretty daunting figure even for someone like Nole.

Rafa was not 100% in MC and I think Nole played really well. Rafa is playing much better tennis than and beating Wava 2,3 and 1 is a very good result.

However, again I don't think Rafa would be calm . Even last year Rafa allowed Nole to claw back even after having 2 breaks in first set and even in second set he allowed Nole to level. Even Rafa wasn't fully calm last year , coz had he been calm he would not have surrendered two breaks lead in first set and one break lead in second set.

fedexal , 6/5/13 8:55 PM

fedexal , 6/5/13 8:55 PM

Ask yourself the following questions, I believe the answers will give a good indication of Rafa's level of "colm" this year compared to last:

1. what was at stake last year for Rafa?
2. what is at stake this year for Rafa?

I think you will also find the following article helpful.

Cheers, mate.

rafaisthebest , 6/5/13 9:16 PM

@ fedexal

Even when Rafa is calm he surrenders leads........sometimes he is just too calm and loses focus!!

What I know for sure is that once the games begin Nole will hit the ground running bcos part of his strategy is to put Rafa under pressure using his usual aggressive strategy!! But what we must remember is that Rafa has played Nole enough times to know who well to deal with Noles play! If Rafa fails to go toe to toe with Nole ii will not be for not knowing how, but would either be bcos he is nervous or that he not bringing his A game!

Rafa can beat Nole, there's no doubt about that!!! He just has to come to win!! I will not lie and say that I am not anxious but i stronlgy believe that Rafa is going to play well and win!! I cant wait to see that smile after he wins match point!!!

And while we talk about nerves, dont be fooled, Novak will be very nervous himself!!!

Monalysa , 6/5/13 9:24 PM

I woke up in time to see part of Rafa's match. ESPN was going back and forth between Rafa's and Nole's so I couldn't see the whole match. But what I did see was absolutely wonderful! Rafa took it up another gear as I expected him to do. He was in the zone. Whether Stan was tired or not, didn't make any difference.

Last night on the tennis channel they had an interview with Rafa. He seemed very calm and quietly confident. In his post match interview with Mary Jo Fernandez today, he seemed even more confident. It's much different than last year when he faced Nole. For one thing, Rafa isn't playing on a bad knee that required infiltrations last year. He is healthy. Also, he seems to be feeling very good about his game. A confident Rafa will be very tough to beat.

Nole did serve well in his match, but did get broken serving for the match. That's a sign of nerves. I don't base anything on how he looked playing Haas. Nole always seems to bring his best against Rafa. Haas just didn't have the goods to win that match. He did every well to make it competitive. He had his chances in the second set tb, but couldn't get it done.

I will be calm until tomorrow night. Then the nerves will hit me. But I am feeling much better after seeing how Rafa played today. He is peaking at the right time. I don't think Nole is in his head anymore. Rafa knows that in the MC final he simply was not ready.

All I can ask is that Rafa plays his best. I believe he will do just that. It will be a tough one, that's for sure. But I say- bring it!

Nativenewyorker , 6/5/13 9:30 PM

Sanju, yes when Rafa was playing poorly or maybe not quite poor but certainly not to his required standards I said that kei would be a dangerous opponent. But now with Rafa playing good over the last two matches I still feel Novak has the edge over Rafa both mentally and physically and that's a dangerous game

rafakid , 6/5/13 9:38 PM

I was just remembering today that the second last time Nole and Rafa met in a grandslam was at AO2012. Prior to this Nole had defeated Rafa 6 times. At that AO Nole was clearly the stronger player and still Rafa got pretty close to winning a few times and they had to fight for over 6 hours to reach the conclusion. Rafa was more or less applying new strategies he had been working on for a while to deal with Nole 2.0 and it was getting close although his confidence and nerves made the task harder.

Friday won't be that close a match - no 6 hours of play. More like 3.5. Rafa for the win in 4 (or less likely, 5).

chlorostoma , 6/5/13 11:01 PM

I cant believe some of the pessimism here. Rafakid, what on earth are you talking about. Comparing Rafa of 2011 at Wimbledon to 2013 at RG is insane for a number of reasons to do with the rafa djokovic dynamic in 2011 and the fact that Rafa is the greatest clay courter of all time. Rafa is a pretty comprehensive favorite against djokovic if he's near 100% on clay, and lets not forget that many commentators and coaches picked Federer to upset Rafa in 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011. This lack of faith by pundits is nothing new and frankly nor is Rafa's business like approach to shutting all these people up year after year when the second Sunday rolls around. Rafa has only lost 1 set to djokovic at Roland Garros and the world number 1 is having an underwhelming season compared to past number 1's and his own 2011 and 2012 seasons.

This absurd over confidence in Djokovic is seriously puzzling, and I can only think that its Rafa being calm and downplaying his chances and djokovic massivley overplaying his own apparent confidence that has prompted this lack of faith amongst Rafa fans. I for one am looking forward to a good contest between the two, if Rafa does end up losing it will be because he wasn't at 100% and congratulations will go to djokovic, however frankly I think the most likely outcome for this match, if Rafa can find top form, is 4 close sets with Rafa notching up win #58 at Roland Garros.

willmw101 , 6/5/13 11:40 PM

I have just been watching the 'Advantage Leconte' programme and you might all be interested to know the consensus amongst the French pundits is Rafa was playing better than Nole today and they are expecting Rafa will defend his title.

Nole will be a lot more nervous than Rafa on Friday for the simple reason he has more at stake. And we all know what can happen if a player starts thinking about the award ceremony before he has won the match. Or in this case the matches.

ed251137 , 6/6/13 12:18 AM

It's nice to know that the French pundits think Rafa played better than Nole and expect him to defend his title. But in the end it has to happen on the court.

That's why I like the way Rafa is approaching this match. He said a few times that this is not the final, this is the semifinals, a title is not at stake. He knows that there is yet another match after this one. I like how he keeps things in perspective.

Rafa just seems so confident and calm right now. So much different from how he appeared throughout the first week. I keep reminding myself how extraordinary it is to see Rafa in the semis at RG after being out seven months due to injury. He has exceeded all expectations.

This could turn out to be Rafa's finest hour.

Nativenewyorker , 6/6/13 12:28 AM

'Nole will be a lot more nervous than Rafa on Friday for the simple reason he has more at stake'

Interesting you should think that Ed, when it is obviously Rafa's defining title, throne and not Novak's.
Novak will win the FO,
If not on a Sunday another Sunday, and he can win just about everywhere else too.
I'm sorry to ramp up the electricity BUT
Rafa HAS to win on Friday and Sunday, it is the world for him.
However if Novak wins on Friday there will be no going back, it is a serious game changer.
Don't kid yourselves otherwise...
This is the big one,
And if Rafa wins.. well its just normal business restored isn't it?
Love it when sport actually has a lot at stake
Don't you too?

Twinge , 6/6/13 1:02 AM

I hope your right!

I like to put all the pressure on Novak and make him favourite! For the simple reason that if he did beat Rafa I would have accepted it long before the match began and that way I can deal with a loss better! That 2011 year has seriously damaged me in all shapes and forms lol but I know it's an even playing field at the moment! But this is my kinda Rafa ritual!

rafakid , 6/6/13 1:03 AM

If Rafa thought that this was the be-all and end-all, then he would have to hang up his racket. Tennis players don't think the way we do about these things. Rafa already has the record with 7 titles. If he wins this time, it will not be business as usual, because he will have won 8 titles at a slam, something no male tennis player has ever done.

Rafa has to approach this in the way that he is because it's the only way to relieve the pressure. He knows the record he has at this event. People thought it was the end of the world when Sod beat him at the 2009 RG. But Rafa came back and won it in 2010 beating the very player who beat him the year before, then again in 2011 and 2012.

Rafa has shown that he can deal with tough losses. He also knows that there comes a time when all winning streaks end. Borg didn't stick around long enough for that to happen. He was a burnout case at 25. At least Rafa, despite all his injuries, is still in the game.

If Rafa loses, he will still be back next here to try to win again. He's not leaving tennis any time soon. If people want to write his obituary now then let them. But I am not about to do that.

We have been hearing the trash talk all week here from the trolls. They have already decided that Nole will win. They have been bragging and sticking it to Rafa and his fans. They have already decided the outcome in no uncertain terms.

We will see if their man can back up their predictions.

Nativenewyorker , 6/6/13 1:22 AM

Sorry, I meant to say Rafa will be back next YEAR!

Nativenewyorker , 6/6/13 1:23 AM

How do you know he'll be back?
I don't read about the trolls much, it has gotten too 'trolly' here, even for me.
And from both sides of the force I may add.
Rafa always plays down everything but the idea that Novak has more at stake when it is obvious he will win the FO not only once but probably a number of times I think is wrong.
Neither of these players have been unbelievable so far.
And that is more of a problem for Rafa I feel than Novak.
But to me it's a wavering 50/50 kind of situation.
Which makes this FO, for once, rather intriguing
One other thing, I completely disagree with those that say it will be easier for Rafa to beat Novak in the semis, Djokovic has never won the FO and so it will be an advantage to have the final IN the semis....

Twinge , 6/6/13 1:39 AM

'If Rafa thought that this was the be-all and end-all, then he would have to hang up his racket. Tennis players don't think the way we do about these things. Rafa already has the record with 7 titles. If he wins this time, it will not be business as usual, because he will have won 8 titles at a slam, something no male tennis player has ever done...'

So which one is it do you think?
Pressure or not?

Twinge , 6/6/13 1:48 AM

It is easy to write obituaries for Nadal. Funny how he is just about the only players people have been doing that since as early as 2006 (his knees will end his career within the year, many wrote).

Claiming that not winning on Friday would be the end of Rafa's career is but a cheap bait, Twench, one you may not even believe yourself. Regardless of anyone's words, watching the matches it was clear Novak was pretty much out of Rafa's head already at USO 2011. I think Friday is 75 / 25 in favor of Rafa. If he does not make the final it is still business as usual. The work of his tennis career simply continues after a couple of days of fishing.

chlorostoma , 6/6/13 3:10 AM

Twinge, 6/6/13 1:48 AM,

There is pressure. But Rafa has to defuse it and say what he is saying about this being a semifinal with no title at stake. These players have to find a way to deal with the intense pressure or they will crumble. It happened to Borg. Of course there is always incredible pressure on Rafa, from the fans, those who despise him, the pundits. But Rafa must find a way to deal with it. If he goes out there thinking it's do or die, that this is "it", he must win or else, then he will surely lose.

Therefore, I agree with you that there is definitely pressure on Rafa, however he seems to be able to find a way to deflect or defuse it. If he can't and goes out there thinking that it is as you say, then he can't win.

I am not sure that there is more pressure on Nole. I don't know if I buy that. But sometimes if you have a goal and feel that this is the time and it has to be now, then you can put pressure on yourself.

I expect Nole to bring his best against Rafa. It's up to Rafa to have the answers. But from a mental and psychological point of view, Rafa just can't go out there feeling like it's going to be the end if he doesn't win.

I do think he will be back. He has worked too hard not to quit after a tough loss. He could have retired rather than work that hard to come back from yet another injury. But he chose to come back and continue playing.

I absolutely believe that Rafa will be able to handle it should he lose to Nole.

Nativenewyorker , 6/6/13 3:18 AM

You have to wonder what those who have been miffed since 2004 / 2005 at Rafa being a foil for Fed would have done in case Rafa had no trouble with his knees ever. For example, were Rafa not coming back from a 7 month break only a couple of months ago, then this semi-final would be a slam dunk. It won't be every year but would have been this year. As it is, it is not a slam dunk. Just achieving what Rafa has since February is beyond the abilities of almost any other male player and astounding. Lose on Friday? Definitely not the end of anything.

chlorostoma , 6/6/13 3:36 AM

^^^^^^Blah blah blah,
The stench of effluence from your coping mechanisms is stinking the place up!
What have I said that is so offensive to you this time?
I wonder if your other half is aware of your infatuation with Rafa (if you have one)
Lets hope not!
If Rafa loses, lets be big and not use the excuse of him just coming back please,
He's been in 8 finals since then FFS!
Such a lot of well chosen tennis.
I mean I called it for MC but not this time.
More applicable is this excuse for that other, even more rickety side of Fedal.
Oh well, we will see how it all plays out.
But if I were to gauge it by reading between the lines from the anxious, mentally frail posters here..
Well............perhaps I'll not go there
Oh and is 'Twench' meant to be rude?
God you are so horrendously weedy & inept lol.
Menstruation has simply destroyed you!

Twinge , 6/6/13 3:53 AM

Twinge, lighten up, will ya? I can no more menstruate than you. Being of the less fair gender and all.

I do not believe that you actually believe all the drivel you write on TT when you write to instigate, which is about half the time.

I had a hunch you would write something about something along those lines.... coping mechanisms etc. While nny and I simply wrote pretty factual stuff that is clear to see.

But what is it that makes you need to try to get a rise out of people, that makes you feel so superior, and that makes you fall into insults with no bounds (and occasional physical threats) so often around here, in a word, act like a 12 year old bully? Actually, who cares. Your life, your problem. Yawn.

chlorostoma , 6/6/13 4:10 AM

Let me give you Rafa's perspective.

If he wins on Friday and ends up winning the tournament on Sunday, he will be in shock and astounded at what he has achieved, because he couldn't have dreamt such a result 6-7mths ago. He has already exceeded HIS expectations.

So, if he were to lose, he will accept it with calm and with realism, that he did the best he could with all the came before him.

I, on the other hand, do not expect him to be overly nervous against Djokovic, Friday will be hot and dry. Rafas, nerves in the first week of RG came from his fear, that he will be bundled out, helplessly by some one hit wonder (ala rosol), in horrible wet, heavy conditions, which he hates! But he rose to all challengers, including the weather, and scheduling and has come through triumphant so far.

Djokovic out of the two will be more nervous, now that the weather has dried up and warmed up and because, he has more to lose, because he wants the title so much.

Below is something I found on another site days ago, which sums it up perfectly by

"Djokovic has played Nadal four times at RG, and in those four matches he's gotten exactly 1 set, in last years Final. The only reason Djokovic got a set then was because the falling rain throughout was deadening the court. Instead of striking the ball above his shoulders he was hitting closer to his waist. That's why he beats Nadal like a drum on hard courts. On clay, the ball can still get up high on the Djokovic Backhand, forcing him to hit down on the shot rather than through the shot, like he can on a hard court. Soderling managed to take out Nadal (and Federer the following year) on a day where it was damp and cool. If they meet in the SF, Djokovic will be faced with having to time the ball without any errors to do the damage - especially off his Backhand. Only a ball not flying off the court will allow him that. Clay reduces the effectiveness of the Djokovic Backhand by about 10-15% relative to a hard court. That drop in effectiveness is what makes him vulnerable - and he needs that shot at optimum if he hopes to have any chance of beating Nadal in a Best of Five on clay. A lot of the ESPN "experts" picked Djokovic to win this event, presumably because of the Monte Carlo result. Apparently to those that selected Djokovic it's indeed the only result this clay season that matters at all. But what is Monte Carlo wasn't exactly a Djokovic ascendancy but rather a Nadal somewhat short of his best? One thing's clear no matter what side you come down on is that Nadal throughout the clay season, and in deed even here at RG - got better with every match he played.

Nadal has been down this RG Road many times. he makes it very very hard for his opponents to take 3 sets off him because he's often so spares with his errors. Djokovic has to employ a specific pattern over and over to beat Nadal on clay because Nadal's Forehand is still a better single shot than anything Djokovic has. Djokovic at some point needs that send high looping shot deep to the Nadal Backhand to allow him to step inside the court and blast the next one. And he needs to keep doing that virutally almost error-free for 3 full sets. That's a big ask. If Djokovic is to beat Nadal here (and we still don't know if he'll get past Haas - who beat him in Miami less than two months ago), then Djokovic will need - simply put - to play The Match of His Life."

isabeau77 , 6/6/13 4:29 AM

Oh dear Isabeau, you must be feeling frail for needing to read and a grounded and dispassionate analysis rather than believe the views of commies who know better ;-)

Nice one.

chlorostoma , 6/6/13 4:38 AM

I just popped over to the site where Tignor sets his elbow into concrete. Guess what? almost 30 comments so far with various views but no trolling, no insults, no childish behaviour, no needy behaviour. No one dramatizing Friday's match. Just a balanced analysis from Tignor, and interesting but sane and cool comments from various fans.

chlorostoma , 6/6/13 5:04 AM

^^ Tignor's analysis of Ferrer/Tsonga and Nadal/Djokovic

chlorostoma , 6/6/13 5:09 AM


I am not feeling mentally frail or anxious. I have gone through far worse in real life than having to watch Rafa possibly lose in the semis at RG. You kind of sarcastically referred to me as "this tough NY chick" not too long ago. However, you didn't think that I showed much of that on this site. Just because I don't use profanity doesn't mean that I am not tough.

I just try to have some perspective. It's true that I am a devoted Rafa fan, but after all this is sport. It's not life and death. I want him to win RG again very much. But I will not be destroyed if he doesn't.

I will not use the excuse that Rafa has come back from seven months off. He seems to be playing as well as I could have hoped. I think he's more ready than he was at MC. I just hope that he plays his best and if Nole wins, then so be it.

Nativenewyorker , 6/6/13 5:12 AM

I noticed this too...Rafa was not only colm, he was ice cold and it's scary. Now if only he can be like this on Friday...


phoenix , 6/6/13 6:14 AM

If he does not make the final it is still business as usual. The work of his tennis career simply continues after a couple of days of fishing. chlorostoma , 6/6/13 3:10 AM

I agree. Look what happened after MC.

phoenix , 6/6/13 6:19 AM

If Rafa loses he will say he was beaten by the best player in the world, which is true and it is unbelievable that he made the semis of a Slam considering his recent injury travails, which is true is well. He is already the all time record title leader at RG, 7, 8 no difference. He lost at MC, did it change the fact that he is still the record title holder there? No. Rafa loses at RG on Friday it will convince him he is on the right track. For Rafa, RG is not the main focus for the season, every match is.

Novak has already said winning RG is his main focus for the season. If he loses, stands to reason, his season has been a failure. He has stated he believes it is his destiny to win RG and this is the year for him. If he loses he will start to think maybe the Gods are not on his side after all. He has said he is winning RG for his just passed childhood coach. If he loses he will have let her down. He has said he wants to be part of history, to be part of a select group who have the career Slam. If he loses he still will be an outsider in this respect according to him.

So, it seems to me Novak has a lot at stake. He has a lot to live up to. He has put a lot of pressure on himself with all these expectations. It could very well be he is handling this pressure very well. In fact some people feed on pressure and this could be what Novak is doing to himself, who knows.

I just feel Rafa has less at stake than Novak. It would not surprise me in the least if Rafa lost to Novak and I would not be surprise either if Rafa won. Either way, Rafa is on the right path.

rafaisthebest , 6/6/13 6:20 AM

^^^^^^Blah blah blah,
The stench of effluence from your coping mechanisms is stinking the place up!
What have I said that is so offensive to you this time?
I wonder if your other half is aware of your infatuation with Rafa (if you have one)
Lets hope not!
If Rafa loses, lets be big and not use the excuse of him just coming back please,
He's been in 8 finals since then FFS!
Such a lot of well chosen tennis.
I mean I called it for MC but not this time.
More applicable is this excuse for that other, even more rickety side of Fedal.
Oh well, we will see how it all plays out.
But if I were to gauge it by reading between the lines from the anxious, mentally frail posters here..
Well............perhaps I'll not go there
Oh and is 'Twench' meant to be rude?
God you are so horrendously weedy & inept lol.
Menstruation has simply destroyed you!
Twinge , 6/6/13 3:53 AM

I reread the posts before this to see what triggered your anger but I cannot find one. What have they said that is so offensive to you this time? Please enlighten me...

phoenix , 6/6/13 6:33 AM

chlorostoma, 6/6/13 5:04 AM,

That's true. You know why? Because the site implemented much stricter moderation. It used to be a free-for-all. People said many of the things that the trolls are saying here on this site now. So there is a another solution besides telling posters to ignore this filth. There must be a reason why sites such as are cracking down on the hate. It destroys any reasonable discussion and drives away people who actually have something of merit or worth to contribute.

Nativenewyorker , 6/6/13 6:37 AM

@nny, reading the blogs and comments on It is clear the bloggers interact with the posters and I think this has helped because I am sure the bloggers like Tignor would not want to wade through filth to get to the nuggets they are looking for. Hence the strict moderation on that site.

rafaisthebest , 6/6/13 6:44 AM


I don't read the comments that often, but recently I did notice a big change. However, I didn't realize that the bloggers interact with the posters.

Whatever the reason, it has made a big difference. It used to be a few who would get into these flame wars and drown everyone else out. Now there is actually some decent discussion.

Nativenewyorker , 6/6/13 7:01 AM

Twinge was also adamant Novak would win Rome (I'm sure he said he same about Madrid too). He did not and Twinge went quiet. I sure hope he will not pull the same disappearing act when Rafa beats Novak on Frday but instead comes on these boards and tells us why he thinks Novak lost.

rafaisthebest , 6/6/13 7:12 AM

He has stated he believes it is his destiny to win RG and this is the year for him.

I dont think he said its his destiny to win RG and he is destined to . He just said its all about destiny .

I interpreted it more as if hes destined to win, he will

sanju , 6/6/13 7:28 AM

If any person is indifferent to any player as they so claim , he will make his point and stop, not talk incessantly about it since months.

Reams and reams of his posts wont be dedicated to put Rafa down and from past few months, it is by uplifting Djoko and making Djoko sound like he is Gods special creation :-). He performed like Gods special creation in 2011 till September 2011, after that he has been normal raking up some great wins and suffering some inexplicable losses.

I mean it is even more surprising and I cant believe it that how people online pass judgements so easily about super achievers like Rafa, Fed, Novak . They behave as if they can read the minds of players and what each one goes through.

Fed and Djoko respect Rafa very much and know what an incredible champion he is.

sanju , 6/6/13 7:37 AM

@ sanju, my bad if I mis-attributed him. Still, destiny? In a tennis match?

rafaisthebest , 6/6/13 7:40 AM

I think saying if you are destined to win , you will is a good and okay approach. Many people do believe in that approach , you may want something real bad and work very hard for it but if it doesn't come your way , you have to just accept it as destiny.

Isnt tennis match a bit about luck too?I mean a lucky net cord at an important point, foot fault at very important point, someone from the crowd shouting and disturbing u at an important point, weather conditions for a match - lot of tangible external influences

sanju , 6/6/13 7:49 AM

Yes, a lot of people believe in destiny and such mystical stuff, I don't. Just the way things are. Reading Uncle Toni's philosophy, neither does he and I think Rafa has been schooled that way too. Another reason I am a Rafan I guess.

rafaisthebest , 6/6/13 7:57 AM

Yes many people also believe one makes their own destiny :-)

sanju , 6/6/13 8:14 AM

I believe Djokovic will win RG one day, he has the talent and works hard.

rafaisthebest , 6/6/13 8:31 AM

What's more his will to win is on a par with Rafa.

Tomorrow shall see whose will is the greater.

ed251137 , 6/6/13 9:16 AM

I believe Djokovic will win RG one day, he has the talent and works hard.
, 6/6/13 8:31 AM

This year I want Rafa to get No 8 and be only male player to win 8 times at a GS. Trust me if Rafa gets No 8, I will have no expectations from him at RG going forth, that record cannot be broken. Plus winning a particular slam 8 times is unthinkable too. Fed and Pete are at 7 in Wimby , Fed can touch 8 too but wont be easy for him.

I genuinely want Djoko to also get career slam .I sure hope he does, just not this year though :-).

sanju , 6/6/13 9:50 AM

It would be great for the sport to have three Career Grand Slam winners all in contention at the same time.

However my generousity of spirit doesn't extend to hoping for a 'True' Grand Slam anytime soon.

Happily nobody will surpass Rafa's Golden Slam in the foreseeable future.

ed251137 , 6/6/13 10:11 AM

sanju , 6/6/13 9:50 AM

Liar, liar pants on fire! When Rafa wins his 8th RG this year, and he is in the field next year you will want him to compete for a 9th and on and on as long as he is in the field! That's the true, no?

When I say I believe Djokovic will win RG one day, I am serious but I do not want him doing it at Rafa's expense! If Rafa's in the field, make no mistake, I want Rafa to win! Of course I expect Djokovic to fight for it all the way............

rafaisthebest , 6/6/13 10:16 AM

sanju , 6/6/13 9:50 AM

Liar, liar pants on fire! When Rafa wins his 8th RG this year, and he is in the field next year you will want him to compete for a 9th and on and on as long as he is in the field! That's the true, no?
rafaisthebest , 6/6/13 10:16 AM

You may be right. I promised myself the same last year too when Rafa got 7 and crossed Borg that I wont stress about RG anymore, this year I have again got greedy (:-

But I will stick to promise this time. Get me No 8 RG Rafa :-) and rest in peace during RG . I will bother for you to get 2 more non clay slams to reach No 14 :-)

sanju , 6/6/13 10:48 AM

We've been here before. 2009 was not a good year for Rafa (apart from his AO title) and all was gloom and doom. Only for him to storm back the next year stronger than ever winning three consecutive Slams and Masters plus regaining the No.1 ATP ranking and Year End No.1

It might be tempting fate to say he will do all this again but it is not beyond the realms of possibllity.

ed251137 , 6/6/13 11:37 AM

My main worry is Rafas fitness in best of 5. Wheter his body is contioned for 4-5 hour maatches. I think the max he has played is like 3 hours after hi comeback.

sanju , 6/6/13 11:38 AM

This article confirms my assessment of Rafa's emotional state right now, calm:

For Djokovic, Playing Nadal on Clay is His ?Biggest? Task

"Novak Djokovic, No. 1 in tennis and seeking a first French Open title, calls tomorrow?s semifinal against Rafael Nadal his greatest challenge. Having won a record seven times in Paris, the defending champion just shrugs.

?It is not the finals, it?s the semifinals,? Nadal said. ?If you win, you didn?t win nothing yet. That?s a big difference.?

Rafa is approaching this as just another match to the final, it is important, but not his greatest challenge. For Novak otoh, Friday's match is his greatest challenge.

rafaisthebest , 6/6/13 11:40 AM

Everybody is of the opinion that the one who wins the Rafa-Novak semi wins the title. Just imagine the shock if winner comes from other half of draw (Tsonga or Ferrer)

sanju , 6/6/13 11:43 AM

"I know what it takes to win against him and that?s what I?m going for. I?m going to win. That?s the mindset.?

" ?Every match is different history,? he reminded us. ?We?re going to play here in Roland Garros; we?re not in Monte Carlo. This court, and the feeling to play this court, is always a little bit different, I will say.?

But Nadal added a disclaimer that softened his warning: ?I know he?s going to play well too because he?s the best today, and I hope to play well here.?

nadline , 6/6/13 12:04 PM

Fed also said he will ensure Jo doesnt beat him though he knows he can beat him. We all know what happened

People can say anything, racquet has to do the talking. Djokovic's personality is to show aggression and picture of confidence. Rafas is to not overplay his chances and show picture of subtlety.

sanju , 6/6/13 12:11 PM

He done Talk the Talk he now has to Walk the Walk.

ed251137 , 6/6/13 12:47 PM

^^^^ I'm referring to Nole, of course, in case it's not obvious!

ed251137 , 6/6/13 12:51 PM

I remember in 2011 some Rafans grumbling that Raf does not talk confidently like Nole, that he did not set specific achievement goals like Nole blah, blah, blah.

Yes, Novak sets specific goals like winning RG 2013 as a priority for this year. But didn't he set specific goals for RG2012 and the Olymoics too? How did that work out?

Yes, Novak talks confidently ( like the multilinguist that he is) and talks up his chances while Rafa prefers to be pragmatic and be wary of his opponent. It's a personality thing. One is not better than the other. I am glad most Rafans now realize this. Whatever tactic works for either, if it brings the desired results, why not?

rafaisthebest , 6/6/13 1:16 PM

Same goes for his fans..........................................................

ed251137 , 6/6/13 3:28 PM

I have told before that if rafa wins another 3 slams which two of them be on HC, 1 of each! It is over for me :) nole can win anything after that :D

rafaelo , 6/6/13 3:42 PM

I don't mind anything Nole wins, he will win it deservedly
Rafa has already done more than enough for me, especially in coming back and continuing his career and continuing to improve long after most would have given up
At the same time my _most_ want for his portfolio is simlar to yours: 1 AO 1 USO, to complete a second career slam (a big ask but not entirely impossible in a good season or two), winning the WTF once (a very big ask unless they move it to another surface, which is not going to happen), and regaining the number one position one more time (to so important and perhaps the easiest ask of the three). Other than that I do not doubt much that, knees remaining OK for a couple of years, there will be more RG and or Wimby trophies. But he has already done much much more than anyone expected or dreamed and that includes Tony and Rafa.

chlorostoma , 6/6/13 3:54 PM

what do you guys think of the duration of rafa and nole's peak time? considering that nole has peaked late!

rafaelo , 6/6/13 3:58 PM

and of course any one who wins a title in ATP tour level, wins it deservedly! especially nole!

rafaelo , 6/6/13 4:03 PM

as soon as I wrote my last post here I remembered the one and only thing that is not satiated by far for the top 4
If Roger achieves nothing else (although he will), he will have achieved more than plenty
Ditto for Rafa
Almost ditto for Nole but it is clear Nole will achieve a lot more before his career is over, and by then (and by the time Rafa's is over) we very well may have 3 contemporaries who have matched or surpassed Sampras' 14 slams... second golden age of tennis indeed

So no worries or great unfulfilled needs for the top three (Nole's several strong years still ahead)

What is absolutely unsatiated is Andy's career achievements. Excellent he got one slam and a gold medal, and almost Wimby, last summer. Now we need to see him get _several_ more slams, and Wimby at least once. Then all the pain will have been worth it. His, his mom's and ours.

chlorostoma , 6/6/13 4:46 PM

.. and Twinge's.


Conspirator , 6/6/13 4:50 PM


chlorostoma , 6/6/13 5:05 PM

rafaelo, Nole did not peak late. He peaked at the right time. Stats from 1920s show that tennis stars peak at 24 with their best years being between 22 and 27.
Fed, Rafa, Nole all won 3 slams at age 24. Muzza unfortunately has been somewhat late. Possibly because he happens to be the same age as Nole and because Rafa generally stops him and Rafa is just one year older. Luckily for Nole, Fed was in decline when Nole started peaking so Fed who generally stopped Nole could no longer do so.

holdserve , 6/6/13 5:37 PM

^^^ yes you are right! compare to rafa it was late ;) or it was better to say that rafa peaked soon :D

rafaelo , 6/6/13 5:59 PM

No, Rafaelo, Rafa did not peak early. He was just so far above others on clay that he started winning slams on clay from 19. But his game was fully developed and he attained physical and emotional maturity from 2007-8 . If you remember he won his Wimbledon and AO as well as USO only between 22 and 24.
No one can peak too early as there is a schedule for muscle and skeletal development. Results can come a bit earlier because of being way above the field. But the player attains his maximum potential only around 24 and has his best between 21-22 and 27-28. Results depend not only on him but how he compares with the rest of the field.
Even players who have never won a slam attain their peak at 24 but their best isn't better than the best of some others in the field. Injuries or personal issues could vitiate the results.

holdserve , 6/6/13 9:21 PM

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