Tennis·French Open

Emotional Rafael Nadal extends record, sets up semis clash with Federer

Rafael Nadal has advanced to a record-extending 12th Roland Garros semifinal with a 6-1, 6-1, 6-3 win over Kei Nishikori to set up a 39th career meeting with rival Roger Federer, who defeated friend Stan Wawrinka 7-6 (4), 4-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4.

Defending champ sweeps Kei Nishikori; Federer beats friend Wawrinka

Rafael Nadal plays a backhand during singles play against Kei Nishikori at the French Open on Tuesday. Nadal won 6-1, 6-1, 6-3 to advance to a record-extending 12th Roland Garros semifinal. (Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Rafael Nadal has advanced to a record-extending 12th Roland Garros semifinal with a 6-1, 6-1, 6-3 win over Kei Nishikori.

"I'm very satisfied, it's incredible, lots of emotions," Nadal said. "To be back in the semifinals is something very, very important."

Playing two straight five-set matches ahead of his quarter-final against Nadal was certainly not the ideal preparation for Nishikori.

"I mean, that's for sure I played too much hours on the court this week, last week. I played too much," Nishikori said.

WATCH | Rafael Nadal cruises to semifinals:

Nadal advances to record-extending 12th Roland Garros semifinal

4 years ago
Duration 1:21
Rafael Nadal beats Kei Nishikori 6-1, 6-1, 6-3 in French Open quarter-finals.

In his four previous matches with Nadal on the slow surface, the seventh-seeded Nishikori had managed to win just one set. With the odds stacked against him, fatigue surely did not help his bid to reach the semifinals in Paris for the first time.

Before taking on the 17-time Grand Slam champion, Nishikori had played five-set matches against both Laslo Djere and Benoit Paire. His fourth-round victory over the Frenchman extended over two days, meaning he had a day less than Nadal to recover and get ready for their meeting.

Power and consistency

"He was a little bit more tired than usual, no doubt about it," Nadal said.

In an impressive display of power and consistency, the 17-time Grand Slam champion had methodically picked apart Nishikori with a mix of pinpoint groundstrokes, subtle drop shots and spectacular winners, including an overhead shot with his back to the net that drew loud cheers from the stands.

Meanwhile, Roger Federer defeated friend Stan Wawrinka 7-6 (4), 4-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4 in a tight battle on Court Suzanne Lenglen to set up the 39th career meeting between Federer and longtime rival Nadal.

Nadal has won all five meetings with Federer at Roland Garros.

WATCH | Roger Federer ousts friend Stan Wawrinka:

Federer beats Wawrinka, will face Nadal in French Open semifinals

4 years ago
Duration 1:09
Roger Federer defeats Stan Wawrinka 7-6 (4), 4-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4, will face longtime rival Rafael Nadal for 39th time.

Konta advances on women's side

Wawrinka beat Federer in straight sets in their last Roland Garros meeting at the same stage four years ago. Until last week, that 2015 match was also the last time Federer played in the clay-court Grand Slam tournament, having missed the 2016 edition to rest a sore back and then skipping the clay season altogether the following two years.

In the women's draw, Johanna Konta reached the semifinals for the first time after beating last year's runner-up Sloane Stephens 6-1, 6-4.

Konta served six aces, stepped into the court to crush winners off second serves and never gave the seventh-seeded Stephens time to find her rhythm or groove.

WATCH | Highlights of Johanna Konta's rare British feat:

Konta advances to 1st career French Open semifinals

4 years ago
Duration 1:27
Johanna Konta defeats Sloane Stephens 6-1, 6-4, becomes 1st British woman in 36 years to reach the semifinals at Roland Garros.

"To play one of the best players in the world and then play at the level I did, I feel really proud of myself," Konta told the crowd.

Konta has now reached the semifinals at three of the four major tournaments, but has yet to reach a final.

She will next play either unseeded teen Marketa Vondrousova or No. 31 Petra Martic.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Account Holder

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?