Rafael Nadal will renew his rivalry with Roger Federer in the semi-finals of the 2019 French Open after both players booked their places in the last four on Tuesday.
The defending champion cruised past Japan’s Kei Nishikori in straight sets to continue his bid for a 12th title at Roland Garros.
Federer had work harder for his win against compatriot Stanislas Wawrinka. The third seed edged an exciting contest in four sets to make the semi-finals in Paris for the first time since 2012.
In the women’s draw, Johanna Konta upset Sloane Stephens in two sets. Konta goes on to face 19-year-old Marketa Vondrousova for a place in the French Open final.
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Konta became the first player to book her semi-final spot on Tuesday, easily beating Stephens in two sets. The scores were 6-1, 6-4:
BBC Sport @BBCSport
Johanna Konta’s become the first British woman since 1983 to make the #FrenchOpen semi-finals. She beat Sloane Stephens. Report: https://t.co/lz2d4nk2fs #ChangeTheGame https://t.co/0yfwlH5t1u
Her serve made the difference, as she lost just a single point on serve in the second set. Stephens had no answers for her aggressive play, lasting less than 75 minutes.
Konta goes on to play teenage star Vondrousova after she saw off Petra Martic in a rollercoaster of a quarter-final:
Teenage Dream! Marketa Vondrousova is into her first Slam semi-final with a 7-6(1) 7-5 win over Martic. 🎾 https://t.co/4l5O07VFqG #RG19 https://t.co/xUfBGCncz0
Vondrousova was a triple set point down in the first set but went on to win 12 of the next 13 points to go on and clinch the opener on a tiebreak.
The teenager then wasted two match points in the second set and saw her serve broken, only to fight straight back and clinch victory at the third attempt.
Nadal’s match was far more straightforward, as he enjoyed another emphatic victory over Nishikori despite being forced off due to rain with victory in sight.
The Spaniard blasted through the first two sets for the loss of just two games, producing some typically brilliant winners:
ATP Tour @ATP_Tour
Air Rafa ✈️ 🎥: @rolandgarros | @RafaelNadal | #RG19 https://t.co/Z8GDORFUwW
Nadal looked in a hurry after moving 4-1 ahead in the third set but was forced to wait for his victory due to the weather.
The defending champion was not impressed with the decision:
George Bellshaw @BellshawGeorge
Play suspended on Lenglen and Chatrier… Nadal particularly unhappy with that decision.
Play resumed after an hour and Nadal was quick to secure victory. The Spaniard held serve and then broke Nishikori yet again to seal another commanding win.
Nadal goes on to face Federer for a place in the final, with the two players set to meet at the tournament for the first time since 2011:
Stuart Fraser @stu_fraser
On Friday afternoon, Roger Federer vs Rafael Nadal on clay at Roland Garros for the first time since the 2011 final.
Federer has looked in strong form on his return to the French Open and had enough quality to see off the challenge of Wawrinka.
The third seed needed to produce a gritty display to defeat the 2015 champion who recovered from losing the first set on a tiebreak to take the second 6-4 and level the match.
It was the first set that Federer has dropped at this year’s tournament, and Wawrinka had further chances in an absorbing third set which went all the way to another tiebreak.
However, it was Federer who prevailed to move ahead, and he then gained the crucial break at 4-4 after a rain delay in the fourth set.
This time Wawrinka could not provide a response, as Federer clinched the win in three hours and 17 minutes to set up a mouth-watering clash against Nadal.