PARIS (AP) — It’s rough enough for Roger Federer — well, let’s be honest, anyone holding a tennis racket — to try to deal with Rafael Nadal’s unflinching excellence on the French Open’s red clay.
Mix in a wild wind, and Federer, so great for so long, against anyone else and anywhere else, morphed into merely good. And good, even Federer’s brand of good, was not nearly enough Friday.
Nadal made quick work of Federer in their first meeting at Roland Garros since 2011, outperforming his rival 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 in air whipping at more than 20 mph (12 kph) to reach his record 12th final in Paris as he pursues his record 12th championship.
This was Federer’s most lopsided Grand Slam defeat since he gathered a measly four games in a loss to — guess who? — Nadal in the 2008 French Open title match.
“He makes you feel uncomfortable the way he defends the court and plays on clay. There is nobody who even plays remotely close to him,” said Federer, who hadn’t entered the tournament since 2015. “I don’t even know who I need to go search for, to go practice with somebody who plays like him. I was thinking that during the match.”
Nadal has never lost a semifinal at the clay-court…