Can Rafael Nadal defeat Roger Federer at Roland Garros?

Rafael Nadal has continued his march towards a record-extending 12th French Open title by steamrolling a sorry Kei Nishikori 6-1 6-1 6-3.

Only last week, John McEnroe gushed about Roger Federer, calling him the "most handsome player" ever to have played the game. "It's incredible. Lots of emotions".

"For me to get to Rafa is not simple, that's why I'm very happy to play Rafa".

Federer, trailing their head-to-head record on clay 13-2 - and 23-15 behind overall - will need another level or two against the left-handed Nadal.

The Spaniard was leading Nishikori 6-1, 6-1, 4-2 when play was halted, while Federer and Wawrinka had a score of 7-6 (7-4), 4-6, 7-6 (7-5), 3-3 when play was halted.

I do not know if that's the best Nadal we ever saw in the French Open because he won 11 times but he beating him on clay at the best of five sets is one of the ultimate challenges.

Roger Federer has a chance to take a measure of revenge against friend and fellow Swiss player Stan Wawrinka in the French Open quarterfinals.

"She had beaten me four times before but I think Roland Garros must be my lucky place", said the Czech after securing victory on a fourth match point. This is going to be a much tougher match for Federer as he is playing Rafa on clay. In his first four-set match of the tournament against Stan Wawrinka in the quarter-finals, the 20-time Grand Slam champion ventured to net 60 times, making nearly double the number of approaches than in any of his three prior matches. "I need to let him play from hard positions, so from where he's going to have less chances to go to the net or to play his aggressive game". He predicted Nadal would destroy Nishikori, recommending Nadal -9.5 games and their second set to last fewer than 8.5 games. Federer, however, has won their previous six matches. "He can play on clay, unfortunately", a smiling Federer joked to the crowd at Court Suzanne Lenglen. You just don't know. "I don't think any player on tour can go on court against me and feel like they've definitely got it". You never know. You might be playing great or for some reason he's struggling.

Rafael Nadal did not believe Roger Federer returned to clay to face him, so the Swiss reinforced his comments.

Before Federer won the 2017 Australian Open final against Nadal, he nearly exclusively employed a slice backhand return and it was more of a defensive shot than an attacking weapon. Lightning flashed, and the rain and wind hit with a vengeance, but fortunately, the break would last barely an hour.

As Nishikori said later: "I played too many hours on court the past week. And he will do his utmost to make sure that his latest victories against me have their weight", Nadal said before adding, "He will be ready to give his best, and I will be there, too". Dropshots, high balls, fast balls, always something different. "I have played five guys now that are righties, so for me, it's a complete switch-around", Federer said.


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