Report: Roland Garros 2014

Djokovic to face Nadal in French Open final

Rafael Nadal returns the ball to Andy Murray during their semi-final match
Rafael Nadal returns the ball to Andy Murray during their semi-final match Reuters/Jean-Paul Pelissier
Text by: Paul Myers at Roland Garros
3 min

On day 13 of Roland Garros, eight-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal reveled in the day's heat as he crushed Andy Murray, advancing to Sunday's French Open final where he will face Novak Djokovic.

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  • Good weather brings out the miserabilists. Novak Djokovic came over all wobbly in the third set during his semi final with Ernests Gulbis. Fortunately for the Serb he recovered enough strength in the fourth set to smash his racquet and break the Latvian – not literally of course. “For 10 days we’ve been playing in heavy conditions,” said Djokovic. “Then the sun comes out, the ball bounces more and the hitting point is higher. There’s strong sun and fatigue.” Poor cherubs.
  • Practice makes perfect – eventually. Back on day 11 Rafael Nadal was all baffled over his dodgy backhand. The top seed said it had been brilliant in practice but when he played David Ferrer in the quarter finals, it was atrocious. The defending champion switched to his forehand and got the better of his fellow Spaniard in four sets. On day 13 in his semi final against the British seventh seed Andy Murray, Nadal’s forehand was a monster. It hit winner after searing winner as Murray was crushed 6-3 6-2 6-1. “I said the other day that I’d been having the best practice sessions for a while. The match was the result of that.”
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  • Rafael loves the sunshine. Strange that the top seed played his best tennis on the day that we had the best weather at the tournament. It was hot. So was Nadal. It was blazing. Murray, visibly wilted after a thrashing in the sun. Following his defeat the Scot said: “He was hitting the ball hard and extremely heavy, returning well, hitting it well on the run. Yeah, that was the toughest match I’d played against him.
  • Reach out and I’ll be there. I'm finished with lines from films. It’s now time to mine the sound of music. Well, perhaps not quite finished with films. Organisers at Roland Garros, not content with not filling the stadium here in Paris, are projecting the brand into China. For the past few years giant screens have been set up in the Olympic Park in Beijing near the Bird’s Nest stadium and the Water Cube. Shanghai’s Century Square has now been selected for the Roland Garros experience. Clay courts and giant screens have been set up in the heart of the city for people to play, watch and thrill to the spectacle thousands of kilometres away.
  • Mexican waves should have a time limit. The players have recently been told they've only got to 20 seconds between points. They’re warned if they take longer than that to serve. Likewise Mexican waves should be only allowed to surge while the players are sitting down when they change ends. There was the spectacle of Rafael Nadal trying to start a service game in the third set and having to wait until the wave had abated despite repeated attempts from the umpire to respect the players. Given that he’s one of the most censured players under the 20 second rule, Nadal probably welcomed the extra time. If the umpire had a sense of humour he’d have given him a warning. But that wouldn't be cricket.

 

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