Federer vs. Djokovic: Stars Simply Playing for Right to Lose to Nadal in Final

Wes ODonnellFeatured ColumnistJune 8, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 10:  Roger Federer (R) of Switzerland congratulates Novak Djokovic of Serbia after Djokovic won their match during Day Thirteen of the 2011 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 10, 2011 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Plain and simple, Rafael Nadal owns the French Open. The red clay at Roland Garros is his and everybody else is just playing on it, even long-time rivals Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.

Djokovic, the world's No. 1 player, and Federer, the world's No. 3 player, are playing in the semi-final of the French Open for the second consecutive year.

They'll play their hearts out, they'll battle like the warriors they are, but all of it matters not.

PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 08:  Rafael Nadal of Spain serves in his men's singles semi final match against David Ferrer of Spain during day 13 of the French Open at Roland Garros on June 8, 2012 in Paris, France.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

The winner, who'll move on to play Nadal in the Final on Sunday, is doomed.

The 26-year-old Spaniard has won six of the last seven French Opens. While each has been tremendously impressive, this year has been absolutely eye-opening.

Nadal has played six matches so far in France and he's yet to lose a set. Take that in for a second and understand that he's on pace to win the French Open against some of the best tennis players in the world without losing a single set.

Only one player, fellow Spaniard Nicolas Almagro, even came close. He's won 18 straight sets since the start of the tournament and has looked brilliant along the way.

Federer and Djokovic know Nadal better than anyone else on the tour, but familiarity means nothing the way Nadal is rolling.

He defeated Federer in the final of last year and even Djokovic, who fights out of corner better than anyone else, is going to struggle here.

This semi-final will be a fantastic match, but it's the last match either of them will win at the French Open.