French Open Schedule 2013: Day 13 Matchups, Predictions and Analysis

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French Open Schedule 2013: Day 13 Matchups, Predictions and Analysis
Julian Finney/Getty Images

World No. 1 Serena Williams and world No. 2 Maria Sharapova have advanced to the finals of the 2013 French Open after Thursday's action.

Williams breezed through Sara Errani on Thursday at Roland Garros, 6-0, 6-1, while Sharapova battled Victoria Azarenka through three sets before emerging victorious, 6-1, 2-6, 6-4.

Now comes the match we've all been waiting for: Novak Djokovic vs. Rafael Nadal—or Rafael Nadal vs. Novak Djokovic, however you want to picture it.

The world No. 1 and the seven-time French Open champion will battle it out on Philippe Chatrier Court on Friday, while David Ferrer and the red-hot Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will follow.

Here's a look at the day's action, complete with my lovely predictions.

 

Schedule for Day 13 (via Tennis.com)

Friday, June 7 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. ET Semifinals Tennis Channel
Friday, June 7 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. ET
Semifinals NBC
Friday, June 7 5 p.m. to midnight ET Semifinals Tennis Channel (Repeat)

 

Singles Matchups

Court Match
Philippe Chatrier Novak Djokovic (1) vs. Rafael Nadal (3)
David Ferrer (4) vs. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (6)

Schedule of play and statistics are courtesy of the official Roland Garros website.

 

Novak Djokovic (1) vs. Rafael Nadal (3)

Julian Finney/Getty Images

I've been dreading making this prediction for a long time because after this one, in my book, both Nadal and Djokovic are going to be winners.

Coming into the 2013 French Open, Nadal was 36-2 with six singles titles this year. However, one of those losses came against Djokovic in the pair's only matchup this year. On top of that, it came on Nadal's precious clay in Monte Carlo. 

In that match, Djokovic won 15 of 22 second-serve return points, via ATPWorldTour.com. Meanwhile, Nadal won nine of 23 second-serve return points.

To give you an idea of how uncommon that is for Nadal, the 26-year-old Spaniard had won 56 percent of second-serve return points in 2013 heading into the French Open, good for fourth on tour, per ATPWorldTour.com. Obviously, Djokovic ranks first on that list with 57 percent of second-serve return points won.

Now let's look at Djokovic.

Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Djokovic was 28-4 with three singles titles coming into Roland Garros. That included losses to Tomas Berdych and Grigor Dimitrov in his last two tournaments. His loss to Berdych was just his second career loss to the Czech in 15 matchups.

The biggest thing for me is how Nadal and Djokovic are playing in this tournament, and in that respect, Nadal has looked like the better player. The seven-time French Open champion defeated Stanislas Wawrinka (no easy task; just ask Richard Gasquet) in straight sets on Wednesday, 6-2, 6-3, 6-1. He finished off Wawrinka in just under two hours. By comparison, the five-set marathon between Wawrinka and Gasquet lasted more than four hours.

Meanwhile, Djokovic hasn't looked that dominant against the likes of No. 16 seed Philipp Kohlschreiber and No. 12 seed Tommy Haas.

We all know what winning the French Open this year would mean for Djokovic after he dedicated his win over Kohlschreiber to his first coach, Jelena Gencic, who recently passed away.

Sadly, I don't think that will happen, as Djokovic will fall to Nadal in five sets. As I said, both will be winners in my book after what should be a thrilling match.

Prediction: Nadal 6-4, 4-6, 7-5, 4-6, 6-4

 

Photo via @usopen

 

David Ferrer (4) vs. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (6)

Julian Finney/Getty Images

David Ferrer and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga have only clashed three times in their careers. Ferrer is 2-1 against the Frenchman, including a straight-set victory in the Paris Masters this year. Ferrer also beat Tsonga on clay in Italy in 2010.

Who will win on Friday?

Submit Vote vote to see results

I picked Tsonga to defeat Roger Federer in the quarterfinals (which he did), so I'm obviously high on the 28-year-old. That being said, I felt Federer was due for a letdown as he declines, while Ferrer has been blowing through his opponents. The Spaniard has yet to lose a set through five matches at Roland Garros. He made quick work of warrior Tommy Robredo in the quarterfinals, winning in 85 minutes (including a 22-minute third set).

Yes, Ferrer has suffered defeats to Wawrinka, Dmitry Tursunov and Kevin Anderson dating back to early March, but his play at Roland Garros has been on another level. I don't expect a letdown against Tsonga, even with the way Tsonga has been playing as of late.

But, believe me, this was no easy pick.

Matt Cronin of TennisReporters.net tweeted:

Ferrer wins in five sets.

Prediction: 6-4, 5-7, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4

 

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