The final four on the men's bracket at the 2021 French Open features a collection of familiar names, led by Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.
Thanks to the way the draw played out, Nadal and Djokovic will play in one of the semifinal matches on Friday. Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev will square off in the other men's singles match.
Nadal is going to be the favorite to leave Roland Garros with his 14th career French Open title. He has only dropped one set through his first five matches.
The three other stars still in contention have combined for one French Open win their careers. Djokovic's only victory at this tournament was in 2016. Tsitsipas is making his second consecutive appearance in the semifinals. Zverev had never made it beyond the quarterfinals prior to this year.
2021 French Open Men's Semifinals
Semifinal No. 1: No. 3 Rafael Nadal vs. No. 1 Novak Djokovic
Semifinal No. 2: No. 6 Alexander Zverev vs. No. 5 Stefanos Tsitsipas
Date: Friday, June 11
Live Stream: ESPN+
Saying that Nadal has a lot of momentum at the French Open is an obvious statement, but his current run of success dates back even before the start of this tournament.
Nadal has won 10 consecutive matches since the Italian Open. The streak includes a head-to-head win over Djokovic in the finals of that tournament, which is a clay-court event.
The quarterfinal against Diego Schwartzman was the first time Nadal showed any cracks in a match that lasted 2 hours, 45 minutes.
In the second set, won by Schwartzman, Nadal had his serve broken twice and let the Argentina native win eight of his 10 second serve points.
"I started badly in the second set, then I was able to come back," Nadal told reporters about his quarterfinal win. "But at 4-4, returning with the wind, I played a bad game and hit a double fault in the next game. I needed to play more aggressively and I did so throughout the rest of the match. I won an important match today against a tough opponent."
Playing Djokovic will be the most difficult task that Nadal has had thus far, but one he's well suited to handle.
Djoker has had his own issues getting to his point. He dropped the first two sets against Lorenzo Musetti in the fourth round before winning the next two sets.
Musetti retired in the fifth after essentially admitting he was frustrated about losing 16 of the previous 17 games.
Djokovic came out of the gate strong in the quarterfinal against Matteo Berrettini, winning the first two sets. Berrettini forced a fourth set by winning a tiebreak in the third, but he eventually ran out of gas before Djokovic put the match away 7-5 in the fourth.
Friday will mark the ninth head-to-head meeting between Nadal and Djokovic at the French Open. Nadal has won seven of the previous eight. He's also won their last five matchups on clay dating back to 2017.
Until Nadal loses at the French Open, he should be considered the favorite in every match he plays. Everything that has happened thus far points to Rafa reaching the final for the 14th time in his iconic career.
While Nadal-Djokovic will get most of the attention, Zverev-Tsitsipas is a matchup between two of the best players in the world playing at a high level right now.
Zverev hasn't dropped a set since the second round, but he's had an easy path to this point. The semifinals will mark his first match against a seeded opponent in the tournament.
Tsitsipas has defeated three straight seeded opponents, including No. 2 Daniil Medvedev in the quarterfinal.
The best argument for Zverev at this point is the lack of high-end competition has allowed him to stay fresh. The German star hasn't played a match that has gone longer than two hours since the third round against Laslo Djere.
If Zverev's legs are still fresh and his serve is working, he has a great chance to reach the final of a grand slam tournament for the second time in his career.
Tsitsipas' path thus far has been daunting on paper, but he's come through it largely unscathed. His win over Medvedev included a 73 percent success rate on first-serve points (48-of-66) and 57 percent success rate on break points (4-of-7).
History suggests that Tsitsipas will have the advantage over Zverev. He has won five of their previous seven meetings, including their only other matchup on clay at the ATP Masters in Spain in 2019.