Rafael Nadal is one step away from his 12th French Open title after a 6-3 6-4 6-2 semi-final win over Roger Federer on Friday.
Nadal recorded a straight sets win over Federer in the semi-final match that was played on Court Phillippe-Chatrier. The entire match lasted for two hours and 25 minutes. It was Nadal’s 14th win in 16 clay-court matches against Federer.
“I haven’t played on clay for three years so maybe for the first time in 15 years I can go to the French and be like, ‘Let’s just see what happens,’” Federer told The Times’ Christopher Clarey before his clay season began. “And maybe that’s exactly what is going to make a beautiful result. And if it’s not, no problem.”
Federer and Nadal, who own 37 majors between them, took turns pausing before serves as gusts blew clay into their eyes and the ball danced once airborne.
“The conditions out there today have been so hard, so difficult to manage,” said Nadal. “Was the day to be just focused, accept all the adversity. That’s what I tried to do.”
The wind aside, clay is Nadal’s preferred surface. He improved to 6-0 at the French Open against his 37-year-old friend and 14-2 on dirt altogether.
The 33-year-old winner said: “It’s incredible to play Roger here — congratulations to him. He’s probably the best player in history for me.
“It’s always a tough match against Roger. It was tough conditions with the wind. I’m happy to have the chance to play another final here. It’s the most important tournament in my career.”
“I thought it was a great tournament,” said Federer. “I really enjoyed it. Crowd support couldn’t have been better. Maybe one of the best ever in my entire 20-year career that I have been on tour at a slam.
“In terms of playing, I think I played really, actually, well. You know, I think I surprised myself maybe how deep I got in this tournament and how well I actually was able to play throughout.”
On Sunday, Nadal will face the winner of the semifinal between Novak Djokovic and Dominic Thiem, which was suspended later Friday because of inclement weather. Thiem was leading, 6-2, 3-6, 3-1.