PARIS (AP) — Roger Federer knew when he returned to the French Open that, if things went exceedingly well, he eventually would find himself face-to-face with Rafael Nadal.
Here we go.
Just like old times.
Federer put away Stan Wawrinka after a 75-minute rain delay Tuesday, converting a break point for just the second time in 18 chances and quickly wrapping up a 7-6 (4), 4-6, 7-6 (5), 6-4 victory over his friend and Swiss countryman to reach the semifinals at Roland Garros.
And what a showdown comes next: Federer vs. Nadal for a spot in the final.
“Always,” Nadal said, “a big match.”
They are two titans of tennis, with Federer holding a men’s-record 20 Grand Slam titles, and Nadal next with 17.
Nadal, who won 11 of his trophies in Paris, has gotten the better of their rivalry over the years, leading 23-15 overall, 9-3 at majors, 13-2 on clay and 5-0 at the French Open, including four finals.
“My next opponent is not too bad. He can play on clay, unfortunately,” Federer joked to the crowd at Court Suzanne Lenglen.
They haven’t met at Roland Garros since 2011. Federer, who has won their most recent five matches, last entered the field in 2015, when he lost to Wawrinka in the…