'Fedal': The clash of the titans in Roland-Garros 2019

'Fedal': The clash of the titans in Roland-Garros 2019

The two will clash in the French Open semifinal for the first time in 14 years. Photo credit: AFP

Rafael Nadal vs Roger Federer. One of the greatest rivalries ever, the significance of the match has crossed the realm of tennis and attained the glory of immortality across every sport. While Nadal has always defended his impregnable clay court fortress against the Swiss maestro, Federer has been not so lucky. His once invincible grass court kingdom was breached by the Spaniard in the epic Wimbledon final of 2008 where Federer was defeated in a five-set thriller. Their somewhat diminished prowess over the years has not reduced the aura of their rivalry, and the 2019 French Open semifinal is no exception. The fans still wait with bated breath to witness the battle between two giants of lawn tennis. 

This is clay court, and Nadal is the undisputed king of the Roland Garros. Federer and Nadal have met 5 times in the French Open, and every time, the Spaniard has emerged victorious. This time also, he is showing the mettle of a champion, brushing aside every opponent in his march to the summit. He destroyed Nishikori in the quarter-final 6-1, 6-1, 6-3 leading experts to proclaim him as the outright favourite in the semifinal.

Federer too is in a sublime form. He has lost just a single set in the entire tournament till now, in the quarter-final clash against fellow Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka. But age is taking a toll on Federer, as the 37-year-old veteran is long past his youthful prime in terms of fitness. Off late, he has struggled in the matches stretching for a long duration, with the match against Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Round of 16 of Australian Open serving as a prime example of Roger's current vulnerability when pitted against a fitter opponent. Nevertheless, he can very well make up for his bygone fitness standard with the artistic grace and poise that has been a hallmark of his game over the years. Though Nadal will start the game as the favourite, Federer even at this age will be no pushover. 

Some stats about this rivalry prior to the semifinal match: 

Overall head to head:

Total matches 38: Federer 15, Nadal 23. 

Head to head in Grand Slams:

Total Matches 12: Nadal 9, Federer 3.

Head to head in Ronald Garros:  Nadal has won all his five encounters against Federer.

Roger Federer has won the last five encounters between these two, but none of them was in clay court. 

Rafael Nadal is currently unbeaten for 22 matches in the Ronald Garros. 

Nadal leads 13-2 in their clay court head to head record. 

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