Nadal, Murray set up Paris semis showdown
Champion Rafa Nadal cut loose after a shaky French Open start to batter Robin Soderling 6-4 6-1 7-6 and Andy Murray again tried to tie himself in knots against Argentine Juan Ignacio Chela before easily sealing his semi-final spot on Wednesday. In action today | StarwatchUpdated: Jun 02, 2011 02:24 IST
Champion Rafa Nadal cut loose after a shaky French Open start to batter Robin Soderling 6-4 6-1 7-6 and Andy Murray again tried to tie himself in knots against Argentine Juan Ignacio Chela before easily sealing his semi-final spot on Wednesday.
The first and fourth seeds will meet in a stellar last four in which rampant second seed Novak Djokovic and 16-times grand slam champion Roger Federer will also lock horns on Friday.
Five-times winner Nadal, whose only French men's singles loss was to Soderling in 2009, endured his first-five set match on the Paris clay in the first round and had only gradually improved since but he was back to best against the Swede.
"I am very happy, to play against Robin is always difficult," he said courtside.
"I played better than I have on other days. I played a very good level today and Robin maybe made more mistakes than usual."
Murray, who had battled an ankle injury and Viktor Troicki for five sets over two days in round four, had less of a stroll as he found himself 4-1 down in the first set against Juan Ignacio Chela but the battling Briton prevailed 7-6, 7-5, 6-2.
With so much on the line, Federer says he can afford to approach the encounter in a more relaxed frame of find than his adversary. "There's less at stake for me than for him," said Federer, the 2009 champion.
Pressure will be on Djokovic: Federer
Roger Federer believes the pressure will all be on Novak Djokovic when the pair meet in the French Open semi-finals on Friday. Victory for Djokovic, the second seed, will see him replace Rafael Nadal as world number one, while he would also equal John McEnroe's 1984 record of 42 matches unbeaten at the start of a season.
"He's got a lot of things going on. I'd love to be in a Grand Slam final, because I haven't achieved it for a few Slams, but it's nothing major for me, as long as I keep playing well."
Despite his crown having slipped, however, the 29-year-old 16-time Grand Slam-winner says he is not desperate to keep Djokovic from the number one position. "It's not the driving force behind this match, to be honest," he said.
First Published: Jun 01, 2011 22:24 IST