FRENCH OPEN 2015: Day 12 Preview

World number one Novak Djokovic has finally beaten Rafael Nadal on his 7th attempt at the Roland Garros in Paris on Day 11 of the French Open 2015 and kept alive his bid to become only the eighth male player in the history of the game to complete the career slam. It was Nadal’s 29th birthday and the nine time champion got off to the worst possible start as he dropped the first four games to fall behind 0-4.

Djokovic then lost his way and inevitably the Spaniard returned the favour by breaking serve twice to even the score at 4-4. Djokovic wasted 3 set points in the tenth game but finally converted on his sixth set point in the 12th game to clinch the all important first set 7-5. The winner of the first set had won 11 of the last 13 meetings between the two. Games went with serve and from 3-3 in the second set. Djokovic in an astonishing turn of events won 9 of the last 10 games to seal victory in 2 hours and 26 minutes, 7-5,6-3,6-1.

Andy Murray reached his third semi-final at Roland Garros as he battled to a 7-6(6), 6-2, 5-7, 6-1 victory over the 2013 finalist David Ferrer of Spain. The 3rd seeded Scot saved two set points in the first set before claiming it on a tie-break and then broke Ferrer’s serve twice in the second set. He squandered a match point in the 10th game of the third set and in a blink of an eye dropped his own serve and then lost the set 5-7.

Murray who is 15-0 on European clay since he married his long time girlfriend Kim Sears in April, stayed calm and took the fourth set with two service breaks 6-1. Murray, who won his first maiden title on clay in Munich and then the Madrid Masters, will play Djokovic on Friday while the other semi-final pits the local favourite Jo Wilfred Tsonga against the Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka. He also becomes the first British player to reach a third semi-final in Paris having lost to the Spaniard Nadal in 2011 & 2014. Murray is 36-5 in 2015, while Ferrer who won in Doha, Rio De Janeiro and Acapulco fell to 36-8.

The 28 year old Serb extended his winning streak to 27 wins and is also 15-0 for the year on European clay having won the Monte Carlo and Rome Masters titles. Djokovic is now 40-2 in 2015 while Nadal fell to 29-10. Nadal who won titles in Paris from 2005-2008 & 2010-2014 has a staggering 70-2 record with his only other loss coming in the round of 16 to Robin Soderling in 2009. He still leads Djokovic 23-21 in their head to head meetings, the longest rivalry in the Open Era.

In the women’s singles the 2002 & 2013 champion Serena Williams defeated the Italian Sara Errani who has been a finalist here in 2012 ( loss to Sharapova) with consummate ease 6-1,6-3 on court Phillipe Chatrier. She now goes on to face the 23rd seeded Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland who continued her surprise run by beating the unseeded Allison Van Uytvanck on court Suzanne Lenglen.

Williams fired 10 aces and hit 39 winners in the 1 hour 6 minute match and now is the red hot favourite to capture her 20th major title on Saturday which would leave her only two short of the all time leader Steffi Graf of Germany who has 22 titles. The 25 year Bacsinszky is the first Swiss among women to reach the last four of a grand slam since Patty Schnyder at 2004 at the U.S. Open.

The line-up for the women’s singles semi-finals to be played on Day 12 is as under :-

Serena Williams (1) v. Timea Bacsinszky (23) ; Williams leads 2-0
Ana Ivanovic (7) v. Lucie Safarova (13); Safarova leads 5-3.

– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy.You can reach him at the email: sportzcosmos@gmail.com]

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