It's a shame Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic were both positioned in the top half of the men's draw at the 2013 French Open. Their semifinals match will feel more like the final than the actual final, but in the end Nadal will prevail to win his eighth title at Roland Garros.
Nadal absolutely blew past Stanislas Wawrinka, who was tough to beat before the quarterfinals. He won in straight sets and lost just six games, per Roland Garros on Twitter:
His early-round matches didn't go quite as smoothly, as Nadal actually lost a set apiece in his first two matches.
Meanwhile, Djokovic also got through to the semifinals with a straight-sets victory, setting up this blockbuster matchup, as noted by Live Tennis:
Djokovic was tested early in his fourth-round match against Philipp Kohlschreiber, who took the first set of the match before succumbing to mistakes and ultimately losing in four sets. Djokovic hadn't lost a single set before that dogfight, however, and he's been looking extremely sharp this past week-and-a-half at Roland Garros.
Both players have hit a few potholes on the way to the semifinals, and we know from their extensive history against one another that this upcoming match will be a brutal fight.
With 34 total matches against one another in the books, Nadal has the slight edge with 19 wins to Djokovic's 15. They've met nine times in Grand Slam events, with Nadal winning six of those matches, though it's important to note he's never lost (4-0) to Djokovic at Roland Garros.
The last time they met, Djokovic stomped Nadal in straight sets in the final at Monte Carlo. This win is one that many fans of the Djoker have pointed to as a means of claiming superiority in this upcoming contest.
Unfortunately for Djokovic and his fans, Nadal hasn't lost a single match since then, as noted by ESPN Stats & Info, and his undefeated record against his rival at Roland Garros counts for much more than the last match:
According to the tournament's official Twitter account, Nadal says he's playing with "less pressure" than he did before his seven-month layoff and is "fresh" and full of "motivation and energy":
His self-diagnosis is spot on. Nadal looked a bit vulnerable early, but he's fully asserted himself in the past few matches, beating three ranked players in a row in straight sets.
As good as Djokovic is with his stellar all-around game, he's no match for "The King of Clay" at Roland Garros.
Prediction: Nadal will win in four sets to move on to the men's final.
Follow me on Twitter @JesseReed78
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!