All the four top seeds have secured their appointed places in the semi-finals of the second grand slam tournament of the year at the Roland Garros in Paris. Only Roger Federer was made to fight for his win against fellow Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka, whom he beat in four sets on Tuesday, to avenge his loss at the hands of the 2015 champion. Federer next faces Rafael Nadal, the Eleven time champion who routed Kei Nishikori of Japan dropping only five games in the process.
The 2009 champion Federer, seeded third was playing his countryman Wawrinka in what was a rematch of their clash four years when Wawrinka beat his illustrious countryman in straight sets enroute to the first of his three grand slam titles. Federer took the first set in a tie-break and then lost chance to take an early lead in the second set. Wawrinka was the first to get a break and he took the second set 6-4. Games went with serve till 3-3 and the 24th seeded Wawrinka got the break to go 4-3 up.
Federer broke right back and it was decided by way of a tie-break in the third set. The 20 time grand slam champion finally converted on only the second out of 18 break point chances and closed out the match 7-6(4),4-6,7-6(5),6-4. The match was interrupted for 75 minutes in the fourth set with score tied at 3-3, but after the break Federer got the all important break in the ninth game and then after saving a break point served out the three hour and thirty five minute match.
The 37 year old Federer, a four time finalist apart from his 2009 title, is the oldest man to reach the last four since 39 year old Jimmy Connors at the 1991 U.S. Open. He improves to 23-3 against Wawrinka who will be ranked 19th when rankings are released on Monday.
Rafael Nadal continued his mastery over the hapless Kei Nishikori of Japan who had endured two consecutive five set matches in the previous rounds against the Frenchman Benoit Paire and Laslo Djere of Serbia. Nadal won 6-1,6-1,6-3 to set up the 39th meeting against his archrival Roger Federer in the semi-finals on Friday. Nadal leads 23-15 in their career head to head, including 5-0 at Roland Garros and 13-2 on clay, but Federer has won their last five meetings. Both players have dropped only one set in five matches. While Nadal dropped a set to David Goffin of Belgium, Federer lost his only set to Wawrinka on Tuesday.
The matches in the top half of the draw were cancelled on Wednesday, but both Novak Djokovic and Dominic Thiem wasted little time in booking their places in the last four. It looked like they were determined to finish their matches at the earliest as both would have to play two matches back to back days while the bottom half had two full days between the quarter final and semi final matches.
Djokovic looked to be in danger of dropping his first set of the tournament as the German Alexander Zverev served for the first set at 5-4 having broken the top seed in the ninth game. That seemed to be a wake up call for the 2016 champion who reeled of the next four games and broke Zverev twice each in both the second and third set as Djokovic won 7-5,6-2,6-2.
Meanwhile, Dominic Thiem was in champioship winning form as he outclassed the Russian Karen Khachanov, seeded tenth and playing in his first grand slam Quarter-final at a Grand slam. The fourth seeded Austrian won 6-2,6-4,6-2 on court Suzanne Lenglen and now takes on Djokovic in the second semi-final on Friday.
In the ladies section of the draw there will be a name on the trophy as Ashley Barty, Johanna Konta, Amanda Anisimova and Marketa Vondrousova advanced to the semi-finals which were to be played on Thursday. The American Anisimova, 17 year old becomes the first player to be born after the year 2000 to advance to the last four of a grand slam after she beat the defending champion Simona Halep of Romania 6-2,6-4 on Thursday.
The American takes on the Australian Ashley Barty who took out the American Madison Keys 6-3,7-5. In the matches that were played on Tuesday before the washout on Wednesday, Briton Johanna Konta ousted the American Sloane Stephens, the 2017 U.S. Open champion with surprising ease 6-1,6-4. The unseeded Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic ousted Petra Martic of Croatia 7-6(1),7-5.
The following is the semi-final line up in the men’s and women’s section of the draw with my picks mentioned first :-
Dominic Thiem (4) v. Novak Djokovic (1) ; Djokovic leads 6-2
Roger Federer (3) v. Rafael Nadal (2) ; Nadal leads 15-23.
Johanna Konta (26) v. Marketa Vondrousova (-)
Ashley Barty (8) v. Amanda Anisimova (-)
– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy. You can reach him at the email: sportzcosmos@]