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Tennis

Roland Garros: Day 10 - The Roger and Rafa show comes home

Roger Federer has never beaten Rafael Nadal at the French Open.
Roger Federer has never beaten Rafael Nadal at the French Open. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

Rafael Nadal was so good against Kei Nishikori some punters thought he was boring. He'll next play Roger Federer. That might be of interest. Here's five things we learned on Day 10.

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Konta attack

Johanna Konta had never won a match at the French Open during her visits in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018. And then she comes up with a wonderful run to take her to the semi-finals. That’s five matches and in her next clash she will play the unseeded Czech Marketa Voundrousova. On paper she should beat the 19-year-old. But on paper the seventh seed Sloane Stephens should have wiped the floor with Konta. It’s not about paper, it’s about clay.

Sloane thrown

Sloane Stephens and Johanna Konta had played twice before their quarter-final crunch on Day 10. Konta had notched up two victories. And then there were three. Stephens, who lost in last year's final, refused to get too analytical. “She played a good game,” said the 26-year-old American. “She executed her game plan. Really no more, no less.”

6-1 to the Nadal

Fans of a certain age of Arsenal Football Club will recall the joyous chant: “1-0 to the Arsenal”. This was back in the day when they were insufferably dull and boring and proud of winning in such a drab manner. That was before Arsene Wenger sexied them up to become thrilling and invincible. Pity poor Rafael Nadal then that he should be thought of in pre-Wenger Arsenal terms. The daily review saw Kei Nishikori warming up with a left-hander for his quarter-final match against Nadal. But when the heat of actual battle began, Nishikori seemed to have been caught cold. Nadal raced away with the first set 6-1. Nadal took the second set by the same score. The Spaniard was 4-2 up when the rains came. It was so one-sided that a couple of people emerged from the stands on centre court chuntering about how boring Nadal was. Well, you pays your money and you gets a master craftsman.

That’s entertainment

True clay court art? No thank you. We want thrills. The hot ticket wasn’t the defending champion Rafael Nadal skewering yet another hapless victim. It was the Swiss showdown on Court Suzanne Lenglen between third seed Roger Federer and the 23rd seed Stan Wawrinka. Four years ago on his way to the crown, Wawrinka mashed up Federer in straight sets in the last eight. This time Federer won in four after three hours and 35 minutes to set up a semi-final blockbuster with, you know, that old bore.

Star man

Stan Wawrinka was, despite his four set loss to Roger Federer, in good form. Wawrinka has been in the wars over the last year or so coming back from knee injuries. He went down to number 260 in the world and will be inside the top 20 following his run to the last eight here in Paris. When one journalist suggested he’d been resting due to his injury, Wawrinka smiled: “Believe me, you don’t rest when you’re injured. You don’t go on holiday by the beach and enjoy some caïpirinhas … you don’t do that.” When another hack asked whether he would be watching the semi-final between Federer and Rafael Nadal, Wawrinka said that he’d definitely have the TV on. As for the victor? “I cannot see the future, my friend.” What a diplomat.

 

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