Djokovic embracing history and Thiem's 'Ringo Starr' threat at French Open

Wilander shares how Alexander Zverev can beat Novak Djokovic

Now, every time they meet, tennis fans should treasure it because we have no idea how many more epic battles we'll see.

Overall, Nadal holds a 23-15 edge in 38 matches against Federer, but what really counts is the Grand Slam record.

The match between Federer and Nadal is expected to begin at 12:50 p.m. local time (6:50 a.m. ET) on Friday, June 7.

"I didn't see it today, but the way she must have played must have been incredible", Barty said.

When she steps onto Chatrier on Saturday, it will be Vondrousova's first experience of the arena.

There's not a long list for comparison, frankly.

Nadal claimed the opening set with a two-fisted cross-court backhand victor, thunderstruck as he slid well out of court to retrieve it.

Nadal made only 19 unforced errors, crushing 33 winners as Federer struck 25, although that amount could easily have been doubled against any opponent other than the 11-time champion. "Tough conditions with a lot of wind, I'm very happy to be back in the final at Roland Garros which is the most important tournament in my career".

"Then I didn't get them, and I was like, Wow, 'that was a bad idea".

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Anisimova has yet to lose a set in her five wins on the clay over these two weeks.

Nadal had not beaten the 20-time grand slam victor for five years and, despite taking just two hours and 25 minutes to down the Swiss great, the second seed said it was by no means straightforward.

She's played 12 main tour semi-finals, winning eight, including both this season, while Anisimova's two WTA semi-finals have come in lower-profile worldwide level events, in Hiroshima in September 2018 and Bogota in April this year - certainly Barty has more experience of the bigger stages.

The last time Nadal broke the Federer serve was the first game in the fifth set of the 2017 Australian Open final (he went on to build a 3-1 lead in that fifth set, but Federer won the next five games in a row for a 6-4 3-6 6-1 3-6 6-3 victory).

"It was cold and windy and I can't wait to enjoy, it's been an wonderful journey I have been on and I can't wait until tomorrow".

It's not that Feder plays badly at Roland Garros; just that Nadal plays better.

Nadal has downplayed the significance of the contest, saying: "What I will do is try to do my best, so that the victories I have won on this surface against him count for something". At that point, virtually all the energy left the match, and the third set was merely a formality.

Novak Djokovic admits he's within touching distance of history at Roland Garros but must first overcome Dominic Thiem, the Austrian who on Thursday found himself being compared to Ringo Starr, the least heralded of the Beatles. Whatever happens in the other semi-final, the king of clay will start as favourite to retain his crown.

It's a whole different task to take on Nadal on clay, in general, and at the French Open, in particular, where he is 92-2 for his career.

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