French Open men's semi-finals

Novak Djokovic beats Roger Federer in straight sets to secure a meeting with Rafael Nadal in Sunday's French Open final.

8 June 2012 Last updated at 18:47

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As it happened

  1. 1820: 

    Did I say Nadal is bidding to break Borg's record of seven French Open singles titles? Of course, I meant six, but that's what six straight hours of live text commentary does to you. Back tomorrow for the women's final, Sharapova v Errani, from 1400 BST. God Speed.

  2. 1813: 

    The big side-story from that match will no doubt be: How long has Federer got left at the top of the game? Perhaps his time on clay has gone, but let's see how he gets on on the lawns of Wimbledon. If he gets bullied there like he was bullied in Paris, that might be a sign.

  3. 1812: 

    Former British doubles number one Dan Kiernan on 5 live sports extra: "For me, Wimbledon becomes vitally important for Federer's career. I would still say he's the favourite to edge it, but if he doesn't take that title home I think he will begin to have concerns about his place at the top of the men's game."

  4. 1812: 

    Djokovic will play Nadal in Sunday's final, when all sorts of records could be broken: Djokovic is bidding to become only the third man, after Don Budge and Rod Laver (twice), to hold all four major titles at the same time, while Nadal is bidding to break Bjorn Borg's record of six French Open titles. It could be brutal...

  5. 1807: 

    Looking ahead to the weekend, the women's final will be live on BBC Radio 5 live at 1400 BST.

    On Sunday, 5 Live will start with the men's final from 1400 BST but because of Spain v Italy at Euro 2012 starting at 1700, if it runs beyond two-and-a-half hours it will then move to sports extra if there is no cricket because of weather or the BBC Sport website if there is cricket.

    Live text commentary of both matches on the BBC Sport website.

    GAME, SET AND MATCH - Djokovic 6-4 7-5 6-3 Federer

    Djokovic with a wrong-footing forehand winner to make it 15-15. Federer tries that lob again but Djokovic is equal to it, and the Serb sets up two match-points with a snorter of a backhand pass that leaves his rival's feet like the clay beneath his feet... Djokovic blows one... but he grabs the second, Federer only able to put a backhand return into the net. The world number one into his first Roland Garros final, to the apparent shock of the crowd.

    *Djokovic 6-4 7-5 5-3 Federer

    Federer goes to smash, decides against it... and the ball lands in. But Federer's not going to give up without a bit of gnashing and wailing and he might just have pulled out the shot of the match to win that game, a top-spin backhand lob on the retreat. But it's Djokovic to serve for the match...

    Djokovic 6-4 7-5 5-2 Federer*

    Djokovic slams an ace down the middle and it's not nice seeing Federer being bullied like this, a butterfly crushed on the wheels of the Djokovic machine. Service game to love, the world number one a game away from a dream final against Nadal.

  9. 1756: 

    Keith Gomes on Twitter: "A masterclass in psychological tennis by Djokovic. Emotionally decimating Federer just like he did Tsonga. What a legend!"

    Stephen Vernazza on Twitter: "Federer hasn't got the mental toughness to win from 2 sets down anymore."

    *Djokovic 6-4 7-5 4-2 Federer

    The big question is: has Federer become the Palmer to Djokovic and Nadal's Player and Nicklaus? It looks that way at the moment as Djokovic moves into a 15-40 lead... Federer saves one and the second, showing great attacking verve behind his second serve. Another body serve from Federer but this time Novak is ready for it and Roger nets... Federer finds the net with a forehand, his 44th unforced error, Djokovic up a break...

    Djokovic 6-4 7-5 3-2 Federer*

    Djokovic spreading himself at the net like a goalkeeper and putting away the backhand volley. Federer looking terribly frustrated out there, giving his calf a little whack as he nets with a backhand. The Swiss executes a routine overhead before Novak serves up a double. But Federer just cannot get any intensity going and he hands that game to Djokovic courtesy of a forehand long.

    *Djokovic 6-4 7-5 2-2 Federer

    Federer climbs into a 40-0 lead before being outfoxed in a net exchange. But Roger pulls out a plum on the next point to hold.

    Alastair Eykyn, BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

    "This is Federer in decline. He hasn't got the consistency to live with Djokovic and Nadal. He can do it in best-of-three set tournaments but that's the difference for me. I don't like saying this, he is a legend.

    "Djokovic isn't playing that well. His average tennis, his mean tennis, is better than Federer's. It was quite disturbing to see Federer broken three times in that second set. It's such a shame and I hope I'm proved wrong, but I can't see him winning this from here.

    "I was sat out in the press seats thinking 'if he played Nadal in the final he would be minced, utterly minced'. It would be quite embarrassing."

    Djokovic 6-4 7-5 2-1 Federer*

    Federer with a hesitant backhand volley that lands long before Djokovic steps in and dispatches a forehand winner. Federer chases down a drop-shot and puts away the forehand pass to make it 40-15, only for Federer to frame a backhand long.

    *Djokovic 6-4 7-5 1-1 Federer

    Federer's forehand has looked like it has needed an oil all day and another goes long. Big punch-up from the back of the court and Djokovic finishes it off with a forehand winner. Federer dicing with death, grazing the line with a floated backhand, and he levels things at 30-30 with a punchy first serve. Little fist pump from Federer after a well-executed overhead and he wraps things up with an ace.

    Djokovic 6-4 7-5 1-0 Federer*

    Rafa will have his feet up watching this, perhaps thinking I don't have too much to fear. Federer's serve being chopped up at will and his forehand is out of tune. Djokovic, meanwhile, is making his fair share of unforced errors. Djokovic with an ace to make it 30-15 before Federer sprays a backhand long. Too easy for Djokovic at the moment, that service game given to him on a plate.

  17. 1728: 

    Nathan, Kent, via text on 81111: "Absolutely love Federer, but he truly has become the ultimate bottle job unfortunately."

    *Djokovic 6-4 7-5 Federer

    Double-fault from Federer, his second of the match, and a skiddy bounce off a deep Novak forehand makes it 0-30. Djokovic finds the net with a backhand before Federer balloons a backhand long - two-set points, needs only one of them, the world number three with a wild and windy forehand.

    Djokovic 6-4 6-5 Federer*

    Another mammoth baseline exchange and Djokovic puts up the shutters to make it 40-15. Ace from Novak and the Serb is ahead for the first time in the match. Not quite the classic we anticipated, but absorbing nonetheless.

  20. 1722: 

    Sara Errani plays in the women's final on Saturday but she has already picked up a trophy after winning the doubles with Roberta Vinci. The fourth seeds from Italy beat Maria Kirilenko and Nadia Petrova of Russia 4-6 6-4 6-2.

    *Djokovic 6-4 5-5 Federer

    Federer to serve for the second set, and it's been a twisty-turny one so far... great defence from Djokovic and he finishes off the point with a swept forehand winner. Federer knifes a backhand into the net but makes it 15-30 with an eighth ace. Two break-points as Federer nets with a backhand again and the Swiss saves the first with a brave drive-volley. But he can't save the second, Federer off-balance behind the baseline and heaving a forehand long.

    Djokovic 6-4 4-5 Federer*

    Federer moves into a 0-30 lead before Federer muscles a backhand wild and high. HAVE SOME OF THAT! Double break-point for Federer courtesy of a coruscating backhand down the line, and the Swiss takes it, the third time the Serb has been broken in this set.

    *Djokovic 6-4 4-4 Federer

    Signs of frustration from Djokovic, a primeval roar having found the net with a forehand, while Federer's first serve has gone walkabout. Federer finds himself up against the wall with Djokovic firing bullets at him but he does very well to recover, having been sent skidding over the baseline by a well-placed lob. But Djokovic forces a break-point and he's got a 100% conversion rate so far... still, the world number one back in the room.

  24. 1708: 

    Rob Lindley: "He's almost 31, in the twilight of his career facing two players still in their prime. History will still shine on Roger."

    Djokovic 6-4 3-4 Federer*

    Federer sneaks into a 0-30 lead before Djokovic pegs him back with a booming forehand winner. However, Djokovic follows up with a forehand into the net to hand Federer two break-points... Djokovic saves one with a big serve out wide... and the second with a languid drive-volley... Federer pegs Djoko back to egalite with a wristy backhand return before Novak balloons a tired-looking forehand long...

    ... Federer blows a third break-point, netting a backhand, before dumping a forehand into the onion bag... crisis averted, Djokovic holds...

    *Djokovic 6-4 2-4 Federer

    Novak looking to get back on level terms on the Federer serve but that's not going to work against the Swiss, a telegraphed drop-shot that Federer hunts down and executes. Searing backhand winner by Djokovic before Federer frames a backhand to make it 30-30. Ace out wide from Federer, followed by a double, but the world number three eventually comes through.

    Djokovic 6-4 2-3 Federer*

    Djokovic back in the zone - having released Federer's grip on his jaffers he proceeds to smash his way through two straightforward games.

    *Djokovic 6-4 1-3 Federer

    Triple break-point for Djokovic, who has come out throwing bombs in this game - only needs one of them, Djokovic back in the set...

    Djokovic 6-4 0-3 Federer*

    Djokovic spreads like an albatross and puts away a forehand winner only for Federer to hit back with a heat-seeking forehand down the line, his eighth winner on that side. Djokovic with a rather half-hearted drop-shot which Federer truffles out and gobbles up, before Federer yorks his rival at the net for another break-point... Djokovic yanks a backhand long, the world number one suddenly looks more than a little bit fatigued as he makes his way to his chair.

    *Djokovic 6-4 0-2 Federer

    Someone's turned the hob down under Djokovic, while Federer is cooking, second-serve ace to hold to love...

  31. 1640: 

    Infostrada Sports on Twitter: "The previous 2 times Djokovic has won the 1st set against Federer in a Grand Slam (AO '08, '11), Djokovic has won in straight sets."

  32. 1644: 

    Djokovic or Federer? It's anyone's guess. Send us your thoughts and predictions on Twitter using the #bbctennis hashtag or text message on 81111 (UK).

    Djokovic 6-4 0-1 Federer*

    Some people might not like me saying this - Swiss folk, Federer fans, lovers of tennis as art - but the suspicion is, if the world number three isn't playing at the very top of his game nowadays and hitting the lines consistently, he'll get beaten by Novak and Rafa almost every time. Djokovic races into a 40-0 lead before Federer pegs him back to 40-30 with a forehand pass that the Serb is unable to deal with.

    OH MY WORD! YOU'LL NOT SEE A BETTER RALLY THAN THAT IF YOU WATCH TENNIS NON-STOP FOR THE NEXT 40 YEARS! The two men taking lumps out of each other from behind the baseline before Federer lures Djokovic in, stiffs him with the lob and eventually dispatches the Djokovic 'hotdog'. Federer nicks the advantage... knocks off the overhead, Roger's back...

  34. 1635: 

    Dan Kiernan on 5 live sports extra: "Now we're 10 games in, you get a real feel for how the match is going to pan out. I think it's going to take a monumental effort from Federer to win this. Djokovic has been very business-like. He's really firing and Federer is going to have to hit winner after winner to win this match. Djokovic's basic game is a lot stronger, Federer is having to hit lines. Djokovic looks relaxed, Federer tense and he's rushing his forehand."

    *Djokovic 6-4 Federer

    Federer long with another forehand as Djokovic climbs into a second serve. Federer peppering the lines with a couple of forehands before heaving another one out to trail 15-30. Federer misses again - aiming for the lines, it's high-wire stuff - and again, Djokovic takes the first set in 34 minutes...

  36. 1630: 

    Former British doubles number one Dan Kiernan on 5 live sports extra: "Federer recovered brilliantly there and finished that game with, for me, the point of the match so far. He's really got Djokovic running around."

    Djokovic 5-4 Federer*

    ... second successive service game to love from Djokovic, the Serb bending the match to his will towards the end of this first set...

  38. 1628: 

    HPR on Twitter: "Borg lost just 32 games on his way to the 1978 French Open title. Nadal lost 38 games in 2008 and has already lost 35 this year."

    *Djokovic 4-4 Federer

    New balls... Djokovic goes long with a backhand before Federer hammers a forehand long. Federer making a fair few mistakes on the forehand side, none worse than that, stepping in and finding the middle of the net. You always get the sense Federer is playing right on the edge against Nadal and Djokovic but it worked that time, the Swiss eventually coming in-court and winning the game courtesy of a forehand winner.

    Djokovic 4-3 Federer*

    Federer offered a target and he misses with a forehand pass. Naughty from Djoko, pinning Federer behind the baseline before putting away the volley. Easy hold to love...

    *Djokovic 3-3 Federer

    Federer hitting the ball as crisp as you like at the moment, although he does lose the first point of this game, thrashing a forehand wide. What a shot that is, getting the ball to fizz through halfway down the service court. Ace from Federer but a couple of unforced errors hand Djokovic break-point... takes it, Federer switching from backhand to forehand and only succeeding in finding the net.

    Djokovic 2-3 Federer*

    Unbelievable defence from Federer, eventually turning it into attack and winning the point courtesy of a cross-court forehand. Federer piles into a Djokovic second serve, running round it and hitting the ball out of shape - two break-points. Federer knifes a backhand wide before Djoko misses with a first serve... BREAK! Federer climbing into a backhand before opening his wingspan and finishing things with a thumping forehand.

    *Djokovic 2-2 Federer

    Well-worked point from Djokovic, finished with a top-spin forehand winner. Touche from Federer, rooting his opponent with a flat forehand down the line, before repeating the dose to make it 30-15. Sportsmanship from Djokovic, deciding for himself that a Federer first serve skimmed the line for an ace, before the Swiss tugs a forehand wide. But Federer manages to hold behind another well-directed first serve.

  44. 1608: 

    Nadal on the sparse crowd on Court Philippe Chatrier at the start of his match: "The timing probably wasn't the best, one o'clock probably isn't best - that's the reason in my opinion. I played almost every day with a full court. I'm not disappointed when I play from the first round with a full stadium. At the end of match, the court was almost full."

    Djokovic 2-1 Federer*

    Djoko sends a booming ace out wide before Federer counters with a whipped forehand winner. Ace down the middle this time from Djokovic but Federer hits back again, loosening the shoulders and sending a forehand return down the line. But Federer can't deal with that, a dipping forehand from Djokovic, and we remain on serve.

    *Djokovic 1-1 Federer

    Federer kicks off with a majestic backhand winner, cross court, before Djokovic pushes a backhand long. Federer tugs a backhand wide to make it 30-15 before sending a first serve out wide, which his rival is unable to deal with. Ace to hold, two routine service games to start with.

    Djokovic 1-0 Federer*

    It's the world number one to serve first and he moves into a 30-0 lead behind a couple of clunky serves. And another... and the Serb holds as a net cord carries a Federer backhand out...

  48. 1600: 

    OK, we have sun in Paris, or at least over Roland Garros. Players knocking up, play in a couple of minutes...

  49. 1550: 

    Sefi on Twitter: "Isn't it time the French got a roof?"

  50. 1546: 

    Roland Garros on Twitter: "Play should resume in approximately 10 minutes. It should not rain again before at least 45 minutes."

  51. 1527: 

    Players leaving the court and brollies go up...

  52. 1526: 

    We have a rather bizarre delay, despite the fact it's not raining. The forecasters have decided we'll get a drenching in the forseeable future, so we're all being held, like dogs straining at their leads. Federer and Djokovic are sat on court, all a little bit odd...

  53. 1523: 

    Former British doubles number one Dan Kiernan on 5 live sports extra: "There's a sense of real intensity about this match, you can feel it in the air. In the first semi-final there was a feeling of inevitability. For this one, everyone's on the edge of their seats."

  54. 1523: 

    Not sure about Federer's black socks, perhaps because black socks for most people usually means all their white ones are at the bottom of the linen basket. We'll have some play in a few minutes, although I'm sorry to reveal there are dark clouds gathering...

  55. 1517: 

    My colleague Piers Newbery wrote a feature last year, comparing Nadal and Borg. Some splendid reminiscing from our very own John Lloyd, who I'm guessing shared a fair few bottles of bubbles with the all-conquering Swede.

  56. 1515: 

    Righto, Federer and Djokovic are on court and knocking up on Philippe Chatrier. Federer leads 14-11 in head-to-heads, 3-2 on clay. They've only played once at Roland Garros before, in last year's semis, and Federer won in four sets. This is their 10th Grand Slam match-up, which puts them level with Federer-Nadal and Lendl-McEnroe. Djokovic, of course, bidding to become the first man since Rod Laver to hold all four major titles at once.

  57. 1510: 

    "You cannot expect to win this semi-final against one of the best players in the world - it was my best match at Roland Garros this year. David deserved to be in the final too and is one of my best friends on the tour. I wish him all the best for the rest of the season.

    "Before the match, I didn't expect anything. I just wanted to go on court and try my best. They are always very tough matches against him, you can lose. But believed I would have chances today and it was a fantastic performance from me.

    "I'm very happy to be in the final of Roland Garros. There is no secret. I've worked hard all my life to enjoy moments like today. I feel good, I've had a very good season, I try my best every match, stay focused and humble every time. I focus on the things that worked well in the past.

    "The second semi-finals is one of best matches you can see in our sport, it's going to be a great match. I wish all the crowd a fantastic semi-final, they're going to enjoy one of the best matches."

  58. 1504: 

    David Felgate on 5 live sports extra: "That was a staggering performance. For all the excellent play of Ferrer throughout the tournament, he was taken apart by an incredible display from Nadal. He didn't even drop serve! It was a great tournament for Ferrer, but he'll be disappointed at that. He couldn't have performed much better, it's just Nadal was way too good."

  59. 1501: 

    We all knew Nadal was good, but I'm not sure anyone expected his semi-final to be that one-sided. That win means he surpasses Bjorn Borg by reaching his seventh final at Roland Garros, and he's one every one of them so far. Next up, world number one Novak Djokovic against 16-time major winner and 2009 French Open champion Roger Federer. Plump up the pillows, this ain't gonna be no three-setter...

    Nadal 6-2 6-2 6-1 Ferrer

    Ferrer serving to stay in the tournament. Great shot, a hooked forehand winner, to make it 15-15. Ferrer pulls out a big first serve to level things at 30-30 before dragging Rafa out of court and drilling a forehand winner down the line. Ferrer looked to have that point one, only for Nadal to bounce off the ropes and send a forehand winner down the line. Match-point, Ferrer going long after a lengthy baseline exchange, and Nadal puts a lid on things with a classic inside-out forehand winner. Rafa absolutely mauled him.

    Nadal 6-2 6-2 5-1 Ferrer*

    Ferrer with a cute forehand to level things at 15-15 before Nadal spreads at the net and puts away a backhand volley. Big serve down the middle by Nadal creates two game-points and he takes the game courtesy of a wicked forehand down the line. This is nasty, very nasty.

  62. 1448: 

    David via text on 81111: "Re. Robin at 1352. Not quite same years Robin, FO was 77-81 and Wimbledon was 76-80, but yes it was incredible."

    Martin via text on 81111: "Re. David & Robin. Despite all the 'top 3s' recent astonishing achievements, Del Potro's 2009 US open triumph is the most amazing single recent result for me. Beating Rafa & Roger consecutively, interrupting a streak of 10 Slams for them. Such a shame he has such injury woes."

    Chris via text on 81111: "Can't help but think Murray would have given Nadal much more of a game than Ferrer is currently..."

    Jim, Peterborough, via text on 81111: "Nadal - miraculous considering he is supposed to have a long term knee injury?"

    *Nadal 6-2 6-2 4-1 Ferrer

    Nadal with a forehand winner but he finds the net on the next point. But what a shot that is, Nadal leaving Ferrer rooted at the net with a snorting backhand winner, picked from off his toes. Two break-points... ballsy from Ferrer, skimming the sideline with a forehand winner... followed with a double-fault. Start the car, Garcon...

    Nadal 6-2 6-2 3-1 Ferrer*

    The women's doubles final is under way, Errani-Vinci of Italy against Kirilenko-Petrova of Russia. Errani, of course, in action again in the singles final tomorrow, Maria Sharapova the opponent. Ferrer misses with an attempted drop-shot before ballooning a backhand long, to groans on Philippe Chatrier.

    *Nadal 6-2 6-2 2-1 Ferrer

    Nadal misses with an attempted backhand pass before knifing a backhand wide. Ferrer buckles under the weight of some heavy balls coming from the strings of Nadal but does manage to get on the board as Nadal finds the net with a forehand.

    Nadal 6-2 6-2 2-0 Ferrer*

    Nadal with those dipping forehands of his, so much spin that they should nickname him "Campbell". Ferrer hoicks a forehand wide to hand Nadal three game-points before slamming a forehand return long...

    *Nadal 6-2 6-2 1-0 Ferrer

    That second set took three minutes less than the first at 36 minutes, they've been on court for only an hour and 15 minutes. Looking at what Nadal is doing to Ferrer, Lord alone knows what he might have done to Andy Murray, this is just bullying as entertainment.

    Just like that, Nadal has three breaks at the start of the third... saves one as Nadal misses with an attempted forehand pass and saves a second with a threaded forehand that shaves the sideline... can't save the third, shovelling a backhand wide...

    Nadal 6-2 6-2 Ferrer*

    Nadal serving for the second set... Ferrer taking a few more risks after the rain break and he makes it 15-15 with a rasping backhand winner. That's just sweet as a nut by Nadal, dinking an angled drop-shot at the net before putting away the backhand smash...

    ... deary me, Nadal was pulling rabbits from every orifice on the next point, finishing things with a crackerjack forehand down the line. Ferrer saves one set point but Nadal wraps things up on the next, opening up the court and dispatching the forehand winner.

    *Nadal 6-2 5-2 Ferrer

    Ferrer with a screamer down the line on the forehand flank before hunting down a telegraphed drop-shot by Nadal and moving to 40-15. Spunky game from Ferrer, sealed with a tumping forehand winner.

    Nadal 6-2 5-1 Ferrer*

    Fifty-five minute break, Nadal to serve after the restart. Nadal moves to 30-0, stepping in and dispatching a fizzing forehand and wraps up the game as Ferrer dumps a backhand return into the net. Normal service resumes...

  71. 1411: 

    Not sure what's going on out there, all of a sudden it looks hotter than a McDonald's apple pie on Philippe Chatrier. Players knocking up, play in a couple of minutes...

  72. 1400: 

    Blue skies have swept overhead, only for it to start raining again, although the covers are off. Where exactly that leaves us, who knows...

  73. 1352: 

    Robin via text on 81111: "Re. David at 1314. Borg's record of 4 back-to-back French Opens and Wimbledon in the same years is the greatest record in tennis. And Wimbledon was on fast grass then."

  74. 1351:  
    John McEnroe, former world number one on Ferrer

    "He's a middleweight playing against a heavyweight, I really admire him for how well he competes, he's one of the few guys I've seen get better at 30 than he was at 25, it's amazing how well he moves. I was impressed with how well he adjusted after the rain break against Murray and he's going to have to do something here because if both guys play their best we all know what's going to happen."

  75. 1350: 

    Tom, Cambridge, via text on 81111: "The break for rain has given Ferrer one last chance. If he stems the Nadal tide the momentum could yet shift into his favour..."

    Graham, London, via text on 81111: "Massive weekend for Rafa. Sure he would like to bag another Slam against Roger, but really he needs to beat the Djoker in a major final, the only guy to really have his number in recent years. So close in Melbourne, you feel a win in Paris would give him huge momentum going into Wimbledon. Otherwise, he is hoping Federer or Murray beats him before the finals. Don't think that's a place Nadal wants to be. This year will define his place amongst the greats"."

  76. 1333:  
    Jonathan Overend, BBC tennis correspondent on Twitter at Roland Garros

    "Forecast very grim for rest of today. And for Sunday. And for Queen's. Nadal ahead by a set and a break when play was suspended."

    *Nadal 6-2 4-1 Ferrer

    Ferrer floats a couple of forehands long to hand Nadal two break-points as the brollies unfurl and the raincoats are hauled on. Nadal breaks again, it looks like the world is about to turn in on itself in Paris, play suspended.

  78. 1316: 

    David Felgate on 5 live sports extra: "It's truly incredible tennis. Jay-Z is in the house but I just want to sit back, listen to the commentary and watch this match. The standard of Nadal's tennis is mesmeric. Being out here watching this guy today is unreal. I've watched him on many occasions and seen him win here, but watching this today and what's he's done in this tournament is quite incredible. He is tearing Ferrer apart."

    Nadal 6-2 3-1 Ferrer*

    Nadal bustles into the net and puts away the smash - Nadal has won 81% of points on first serve, we are watching some unbelievable tennis. And what an example that is, some thumping groundstrokes capped by a whipped forehand winner. Nadal secures the hold with an ace, his first of the match.

  80. 1314: 

    Nick via text on 81111: "Nadal is in irresistible form, Ferrer already looks like he sees the inevitable defeat. Straights sets I think."

    David via text on 81111: "Never easy to compare the greats, but Borg lost twice as many matches on clay in his career - 39 to Rafa's meagre 19 so far. Rafa the best of all surely!"

    Ravi, Roland Garros, via text on 81111: "Travelled from to London to watch this... Can't believe the amount of empty seats... wouldn't be the same at Wimbledon."

    *Nadal 6-2 2-1 Ferrer

    Solid hitting from Ferrer, standing in the centre of the ring and landing some crisp shots before finishing the point with a forehand winner. Ferrer sprays a forehand wide to make it 30-15 before yanking another wide to make it 30-30. Oh my word - Nadal has just one a point during which he fell over. Colossal rally, Nadal on his backside at one point, pulls out the lob and Ferrer misses with the forehand on the spin. Nadal wins the next point as well, to break...

    Nadal 6-2 1-1 Ferrer*

    A few weather dudes accumulating beside the court, which suggests we've got a bit of rain on the march. Better from Ferrer, moving out wide and hammering a forehand return past the floundering Nadal to make it 30-30. But Nadal pulls out a big first serve to hold...

    *Nadal 6-2 0-1 Ferrer

    If Ferrer, as has been suggested, is "The Wall", then he might want to get the Polyfilla out, he's crumbling fast in the face of this Nadal onslaught. Then again, the mood Nadal's in, a wall, a moat and a herd of crocodiles wouldn't be able to keep him at bay. But that's a good hold by Ferrer at the start of the second, holding his own in the baseline exchanges.

    Nadal 6-2 Ferrer*

    The man to my left suggests Ferrer's new nickname after those two service games should be Brian Ferry, as in 'Slave To Love'. Cruel, but apt, he's being slapped round the court like a plaything to the tennis gods. Nadal slips into a 40-0 lead on serve before putting a forehand long to hand Ferrer his first point in 17. Better from Ferrer, a double-fisted backhand winner, but Nadal has too much for him on the next point, that's a wrap in 39 minutes.

  85. 1252: 

    Haroon via text on 81111: "Empty seats? Think I can get to Paris in time from Birmingham?!"

    Christian Hannam, Norfolk, via text on 81111: "Two Spanish clay court specialists famous for returning everything? Roger and Novak will be lucky to get on court by this evening..."

    *Nadal 5-2 Ferrer

    Nadal has stuck the beast in fifth gear, feathered the pedal and Ferrer is looking rather like a Fiat Panda in comparison. Nadal hitting the lines with forehand and backhand and he moves into a 0-30 lead... double-fault, triple break-point for the second Ferrer service game in the row... only needs one again, Nadal stepping in putting away the forehand winner. Someone call the AA, I think Ferrer's broken down...

    Nadal 4-2 Ferrer*

    Ferrer skews a forehand miles wide off the frame before an unlucky net cord takes the ball into the tramlines for a routine Nadal hold.

  88. 1245: 

    Daily Mail tennis correspondent Mike Dickson on Twitter at Roland Garros: "Why can't the FO fill first ten rows with real fans, put corporates higher, so avoiding this embarrassing courtside emptiness for Rafa v DF?"

    *Nadal 3-2 Ferrer

    Nadal makes it 0-30 with one of those vicious top-spin forehands of his, like a man attempting to revive a chainsaw low on gas, and Ferrer nets to hand his rival three break-points. Only needs one of them - riding high one minute, shot down the next, cruel, cruel world...

    Nadal 2-2 Ferrer*

    Nadal has surrendered his serve once in this tournament so far, that against Simone Bolelli in the first round. Nadal not always quick out of the blocks and Ferrer is making him work on serve - baseline rally before Ferrer scurries to the net like a mouse after some cheese and puts away the volley for 30-40.

    Fabulous second serve from Nadal, bang on the line, and he turns defence into attack with a heaved cross-court forehand to save. Double-fault, however, makes it deuce again, and Ferrer forces another break point with a whipped forehand that skids off the sideline. Ferrer has several chances to break but Nadal snuffs him out again, the underdog could live to regret that. Nadal holds, Ferrer, the mouse with the temerity to break free from the skirting board, snapped over the neck in Nadal's trap.

    *Nadal 1-2 Ferrer

    Ferrer showing good aggressionl, stepping in and putting away the forehand winner. Another easy hold for Ferrer, the number six seed more than holding his own at the moment. Hate to go on about it, but the excuse that "the French do like their lunch" is wearing a bit thin. As far as I'm aware, English people took to the notion of a midday meal about 400 years ago but they are still able to pack out a Wimbledon semi-final.

    Nadal 1-1 Ferrer*

    A stiff wind tugging at Nadal's locks as he readies himself to serve. That's some chunky hitting from Ferrer, moving Nadal tither and hither before exploding the forehand winner to make it 15-30. Ferrer has a target but misses the backhand pass before Nadal displays good coverage and executes a solid backhand volley to make it 40-30.

    Nadal floats a backhand long before Ferrer hands him back the advantage with a backhand into the net. Ferrer pushes a forehand wide and that's a hold - chance there for Ferrer, and I'm not sure how many of those he'll get...

  93. 1221:  
    John McEnroe, former world number one

    "Rafa comes in to this match playing the best of anyone in the tournament but this is the best I've ever seen Ferrer. Both men are coming in with a lot of confidence.

    "In the second semi-final, both guys have not got their total 'A' game going yet. One or both could step up and maybe find their best level, and there's no reason to believe Roger won't play better than he has until now. He has to if he's going to win.

    "Novak is really feeling the pressure, like he did last year. It's impossible not to. Roger and Rafa can tell you what it feels like to try and hold all four Grand Slams at the same time. I was never holding three in a row and going for fourth, but I've been around big occasions and know it's going to get to you.

    "Novak has not been as sharp as usual but that's expected. Even though he lost to Roger last year, it's Roger who will have to play better to win. But both will have to play better if they want to reach the final."

  94. 1219: 

    It's arguably the most mouth-watering day of all at Roland Garros and we want to be hearing from you. Tweet us using the #bbctennis hashtag or text in on 81111 (UK).

    *Nadal 0-1 Ferrer

    Ferrer makes it 30-0 with an away-swinger down the middle. Nadal finds the net with an attempted forehand pass before finding the tramlines with a steered backhand, that's a hold to love.

  96. 1218: 

    For Ferrer and Co - ie. anyone that isn't Nadal, Federer or Djokovic - charting a course through a Grand Slam must be like one of those old Ninja films you used to see: you beat up one Ninja in one room, walk through a door and there's another Ninja there; beat up that one, walk through that door and there's another one there. In the films, all the Ninjas get beaten up. In real life, they don't. In the wake of that terrible analogy, Ferrer to serve first...

  97. 1209: 

    Players knocking up now, we'll have some play in a few minutes. Does someone want to tell the French fans?

  98. 1206: 

    Times tennis correspondent Neil Harman on Twitter at Roland Garros: "About to start first men's semi final of a grand slam and there's about 100 people in the place. Absolutely shocking."

  99. 1205: 

    Ferrer has not beaten Nadal on clay since their first ever meeting, in Stuttgart in 2004. Nadal, who would have been about 11 at the time, still managed to nick a set. Philippe Chatrier filling up in that slow-paced, French way, although it's still only about a fifth full as players are released from the bowels of the stadium.


    Novak Djokovic: "It's another great semi-final. I don't need to say much about Roger, we all know his quality and you can always expect him to perform at his best at this stage of a Grand Slam.

    "I need to be focused and aggressive from the first point because Roger can take control over an opponent from the start. I need to go out there believing I can win.

    "Physically, we're all fit and hitting the ball well - a couple of points will decide the winner. As tennis players this is what we live for; being part of incredible matches and tournaments. You've got to take the best out of these matches and enjoy them.

    "Last year we were part of a great match that went distance and was played at a very high level. It is a good match for the crowd to be a part of and they can expect an exciting semi-final."


    Roger Federer: "I just want to be well prepared mentally and ready for a long match - you don't know with the weather, it might go five sets. The start of the match should be important but it didn't matter against him at the US Open or here against Del Potro. It keeps you honest until the very end. I will play my hardest against him and see how it goes."

  102. 1200: 

    Roland Garros on Twitter: "Both Nadal and Ferrer have the most wins so far in 2012, at 38 wins (and 4 losses)."

  103. 1159: 

    Anyone on the look-out for some upcoming British boys and girls, I'm afraid to say they've all bitten the red dirt of Roland Garros. A note of optimism for Ferrer fans, the sixth seed leads Nadal 2-1 in Grand Slam meetings, with wins at the US Open in 2007 and the Aussie in 2011. Nadal outgunned Ferrer in straight sets at the French in 2005.

  104. 1154: 

    We have commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra from 1200 BST. I repeat, we have commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra from 1200 BST. Provided it continues to rain at the cricket. Nadal has not lost a Grand Slam semi-final since 2009 and his record at Roland Garros is, quite frankly, wrong: 50 wins, one defeat, more like the resume of a boxer of legendary repute than a tennis player.

  105. 1151: 

    Nadal and Ferrer have played each other 19 times, with the former winning 15 of them. More scarily for Ferrer, he trails 12-1 on the red stuff - and he's a clay-court specialist. Nadal is bidding to become the first man to make seven French Open finals, surpassing Swedish legend Bjorn Borg. The good news is it looks a decent day in Paris, although, as ever, it's gusting.

    Greg Rusedski, former British number one on Twitter

    "Predictions of the day, Djok in 4 or 5, depends on start, Nadal in 3, possibly might lose 1 set."

    Boris Becker, former world number one

    "It's the semis in Paris today, what's ur pick??? It's a tough one but my pick is Rafa versus Djoker.... even tough I think Roger will give Nole a run for his money!!!"

  108. 1147: 

    Hello! My goodness, we have got some tennis for you today. First on Philippe Chatrier is six-time champion Rafael Nadal versus fellow Spaniard, "Little Beast" and Murray-slayer David Ferrer. It is said by some that Ferrer is a pocket version of Nadal, which means Nadal should smoke him.

    Second on Chatrier we have world number one Novak Djokovic against 16-time major winner and 2009 Roland Garros champion Roger Federer - this one could be the sort of match they chisel a marble statue to commemorate. Federer ended the Serb's 43-match unbeaten streak at the same stage last year and leads 14-11 in head-to-heads - but Djokovic has won the last two...

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