In a match hampered by swirling winds, Novak Djokovic grinded out a 6-4, 7-5, 6-3 win over Roger Federer in the 2012 French Open men's semifinals. This match may not have been of the quality of past meetings, but Djokovic did what Djokovic typically does: he found a way to win. He adapted better to the iffy conditions while Federer committed almost 50 errors, an obviously awful total for a three-set match.
For most of the match, yes. Djokovic won 83 percent of his first-serve points in the first set and, after losing his way in the second (56 percent), controlled the tempo again in the third (88 percent). Federer did still earn more break points (10 to Djokovic's eight), but Djokovic won more easy points and dictated most of the play in the iffy conditions.
Who Wins The First Set?
Federer blew an early break and fell, 6-4. Facing quite a hill to climb at that point, he broke quickly in the second set and led most of the way, but Djokovic won the final four games and stole the set, 7-5. The third set, then, was mostly a formality.
The question now is, what chance does Djokovic have of taking out a smoking hot Rafael Nadal? Nadal has never looked more dominant at Roland Garros, while Djokovic has battled form issues for much of the tournament. Then again, considering the conditions, this was probably his most impressive match of the fortnight, so perhaps he is rounding into shape just in time.
The 2012 French Open championship is shaping up to be an excellent one at Roland Garros. The semifinals matchups included four of the top six seeds so it would have been difficult to be disappointed either way, but Rafael Nadal's win on Friday morning means tennis fans will get to see him take on either Novak Djokovic or Roger Federer in the championship.
Nadal basically breezed through semifinals opponent David Ferrer, taking three straight sets with scores of 6-2, 6-2 and then 6-1 in the final set of the match. Ferrer has nothing to hang his head about, however, considering Nadal has defeated all six of his opponents in straight sets thus far this tournament.
Whether it's Djokovic or Federer advancing to face Nadal in the finals, they'll have their hands full. This is the seventh time Nadal has made it to the championship at Roland Garros and, thus far, is a perfect 6-for-6 in the finals -- with four of those wins coming over Federer.
The two semifinals in the 2012 French Open men's semifinals feature two incredibly different narratives. Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer tend to play each other as closely as possible, while Rafael Nadal simply doesn't lose to David Ferrer on clay. What shifts might these stories take on Friday?