And then there were four.
The 2013 French Open has played out like many would’ve assumed. Three of the top four seeds are still alive heading into the semifinals, with Roger Federer being the only top seed to be eliminated thus far, courtesy of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
Roland Garros will play host to a pair of great matches that will determine which contenders compete for the French Open title on Sunday. Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal will face off, with Djokovic trying to avenge his loss to the Spaniard a year ago. David Ferrer will try to take down the red-hot Tsonga for a chance to play for the title.
Both semifinals are expected to be very close, and extra sets are guaranteed to be necessary to determine who moves on and who goes home. So what will be the result of Friday’s matches and who will have the upper hand going into Sunday’s finale?
Let’s take a moment to look at each semifinal matchup, predict who will come out victorious and then break down how the final will play out.
No. 1 Novak Djokovic vs. No. 3 Rafael Nadal
This matchup is about as good as you can ask for. Djokovic and Nadal will continue their rivalry on Friday, each looking to earn a spot in the final. Djokovic is still seeking his first French Open title while Nadal will look to add his eighth to his mantle at home.
Despite being the lower seed, Nadal is the favorite heading into this semifinal because he’s an extraordinary clay player. He’s only lost one time at Roland Garros in his career.
Nadal has fallen on clay twice this season, dropping one match to his next opponent, Djokovic. It was only the third time ever that the Djoker topped Nadal on the surface.
Nadal and Djokovic have been equally impressive this year at the French Open, and when they clash in the semis it’s bound to be the showdown of the tournament.
Ultimately, it will be Nadal who advances to the final.
The Spaniard is the better clay player and has dominated Djokovic in the past. I just don’t see Djokovic having what it takes to keep the Spaniard down. It will be a long, close match that fans won’t regret watching, and Nadal will head to the final for the fourth straight year.
Prediction: Nadal over Djokovic: 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, 5-7, 7-5
No. 4 David Ferrer vs. No. 6 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
Neither Ferrer nor Tsonga has ever made it to the final at the French Open, but one of them is going to this year. Both have cruised through the first five rounds at Roland Garros, neither losing a set. For what it’s worth, Ferrer has had the easier path to the semis.
Tsonga had to get by the No. 2 player in the tournament to get where he is now. But while many may have thought that Federer would’ve been too much for Tsonga, he proved any doubters wrong. Tsonga couldn’t have played better against Federer, dominating Fed throughout the match. In the end, Federer never had a shot to win.
Ferrer, on the other hand, got the opportunity to play Tommy Robredo in the quarterfinals, which is nothing compared to having to play Federer. Ferrer, as expected, didn’t allow Robredo to do much, only losing four games all match long.
The two have only faced off against each other three times in their careers, Ferrer holding a 2-1 advantage. He also won the only match between the two on clay, coming in Rome three years ago.
But Tsonga comes into the semifinals as hungry as anyone, and with how well he played against Federer, there’s no way he loses here.
Prediction: Tsonga over Ferrer: 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4
No. 3 Rafael Nadal vs. No. 6 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
If Nadal can get past Djokovic in the semifinals, there’s no way he loses in the final—no matter who he faces, Ferrer or Tsonga. I think it will be Tsonga who tries to upend the reigning champion, though. This will be an interesting match considering how well each has played to this point and the skills each has on clay.
But Nadal wins this one, no questions asked.
Nadal has defeated Tsonga eight of 11 matchups over the last few years, taking both encounters on clay. Nadal recently eliminated Tsonga in the semifinals at Monte Carlo. Expect a similar result this time around, but Tsonga will definitely be trying every trick in the book to catch Nadal off guard.
I doubt that Tsonga falls in straight sets, but I don’t see a way for him to defeat the best player at the French Open. In the end, Nadal will win his eighth title at Roland Garros.
Prediction: Nadal over Tsonga: 6-4, 6-4, 5-7, 7-5
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