Federer v Nadal: The rivalry of two greats at Roland Garros

  • Friday will see Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal go toe to toe at Roland Garros. We recall their past matches at Roland Garros.
Modified 05 Jun 2019, 16:52 IST
FedererNadal - cropped
Roger Federer will face Rafael Nadal in the French Open quarter-finals

Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal will renew one of the greatest rivalries in tennis when they meet in the French Open semi-finals on Friday.

Federer and Nadal have won a combined 37 major titles between them - 11 of the Spaniard's 17 have been secured at Roland Garros - and came through rain-interrupted quarter-finals on Tuesday to set up a tantalising reunion.

It will be their 39th official meeting and first in 20 months, with Nadal holding a 23-15 advantage overall and a 9-3 lead against his 37-year-old counterpart at majors.

Five of their grand slam encounters have taken place in Paris, and we have taken a look back at them.

2005 semi-final: Nadal [4] bt. Federer [1] 6-3 4-6 6-4 6-3

An elbow injury kept Nadal out of Roland Garros in 2003 and an ankle fracture sidelined him the following year, but the Spaniard, then just 19, certainly made his mark when he debuted in Paris.

By the time he went up against Federer he had already claimed five titles and 22 match wins on clay in the year. The Swiss struggled from the off on Court Philippe-Chatrier and dropped his serve four times in the opening set.

Nadal sent a backhand into the net as the world number one got back on level terms, before producing crushing groundstrokes to become the youngest French Open winner since Michael Chang in 1989.

It was the start of his incredible love affair with La Coupe des Mousquetaires.


2006 final: Nadal [2] bt. Federer [1] 1-6 6-1 6-4 7-6 (7-4)

Federer was handed his first defeat in a grand slam final by Nadal on his maiden appearance in the showpiece at Roland Garros.

The Swiss, who went into the match having triumphed at each of the last three majors, started impressively as he raced through the opening set, but his opponent came roaring back.

Nadal had already beaten Federer en route to titles in Dubai, Monte Carlo and Rome that year and the tide turned when he finally converted a break point at the seventh attempt to edge ahead in the second set.

Federer committed far too many unforced errors and the chance to complete the career Grand Slam evaporated when Nadal took four straight points in a tie-break and clinched glory with a brilliant forehand.

2007 final: Nadal [2] bt. Federer [1] 6-3 4-6 6-3 6-4

Federer beat Nadal on clay for the first time to take the title in Hamburg in the build-up to the French Open, but the Spaniard denied him once again in Paris.

The Swiss wasted 10 break points and paid the price in the opening set, before breaking for a 4-3 lead in the second and consolidating from 40-15 down as he went on to restore parity.

Nadal continued to improve as the match went on, though, and the writing was on the wall when he sent a drop shot back across and Federer buried a forehand into the net to drop serve.

The Spaniard convincingly finished the job by serving out to love and collapsed to the ground before venturing into the stands to celebrate with his family.

2008 final: Nadal [2] bt. Federer [1] 6-1 6-3 6-0

With his most convincing victory over Federer, Nadal matched Bjorn Borg's feat from 1981 of winning the French Open for a fourth year in succession.

Federer was broken at the start of each set as he failed to contain the rampant 'King of Clay', who became just the seventh man – and first since Federer at the 2007 Australian Open – to win a grand slam without dropping a set.

The Swiss was bagelled at a major for the first time in almost nine years as Nadal closed out an astonishing victory in just one hour and 48 minutes to retain his 100 per cent record at Roland Garros.

He then added the Wimbledon title to end Federer's record-breaking 237-week stay at the top of the rankings.

2011 final: Nadal [1] bt. Federer [3] 7-5 7-6 (7-3) 5-7 6-1

Nadal's winning streak at the French Open was ended at 31 matches in a surprise fourth-round defeat to Robin Soderling in 2009, one Federer took full advantage of to complete the career Grand Slam at long last.

The Spaniard had missed a chance to hold all four majors at once with a quarter-final loss at the 2011 Australian Open, but he claimed a record-equalling sixth title at Roland Garros by seeing off Federer once again.

Having crumbled in their previous encounters, Federer, who missed a drop shot on set point in the opener, displayed his tremendous character by fighting back from a break down in the third set.

Nadal failed to score a point behind his own serve before the Swiss struck again and closed out the third set, but he could not maintain his level and a long forehand saw Nadal drop to his knees in celebration of another success over his great rival.

It was the second in a record-breaking run of five straight French Open titles for Nadal.

Published 05 Jun 2019, 16:52 IST
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