It’s Super Semifinals Day at Roland Garros
Both the men’s semifinals (Novak Djokovic-Dominic Thiem and Rafael Nadal-Roger Federer) and the women’s semifinals (Ashleigh Barty-Amanda Anisimova and Johanna Konta-Marketa Vondrousova) take the court today.
The Top 4-ranked men have all made the semifinals
This is the first time it has happened at a major since the 2012 Australian Open (No. 1 Djokovic, No. 2 Nadal, No. 3 Federer and No. 4 Andy Murray) and the first time at the French Open since 2011 (No. 1 Nadal, No. 2 Djokovic, No. 3 Federer and No. 4 Murray).
The last time none of the four women’s semifinalists at a Slam had reached a major final before: the 1978 Australian Open
Chris O’Neil, Betsy Nagelsen, Diane Evers and Christine Matison were all going for their first major finals there (O’Neil won the title; Nagelsen was runner-up).
The four men’s semifinalists have won a combined 52 Grand Slams (the women none)
The men have also made a combined 80 major finals (the women none) and 760 weeks at No. 1 (the women none).
Nadal leads Federer in their overall head-to-head, 23-15
Broken down by surface that’s 11-9 for Federer on hard courts, 2-1 for Federer on grass and (most relevant to today) 13-2 for Nadal on clay.
Federer has beaten Nadal the last five times they have played
Federer is actually 5-0 against Nadal in the last five years, one of the wins coming in 2015 (Basel) and four of them in 2017 (Australian Open, Indian Wells, Miami and Shanghai). Nadal’s last win came in the 2014 Australian Open semifinals.
Nadal has beaten Federer all five times they’ve played at Roland Garros
Nadal beat him here in the semifinals in 2005 and in the finals in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2011. Apart from the 2008 final, which was a 6-1, 6-3, 6-0 blowout, all of the pair’s meetings here have been competitive four-setters.
Nadal has never lost a semifinal (or final) at Roland Garros
Once he gets past the quarterfinals, the King of Clay has been unbeaten on the terre battue—he is 11-0 in semifinals and 11-0 in finals.
Federer has held his last 31 service games against Nadal
The last time Nadal broke the Federer serve was the first game in the fifth set of the 2017 Australian Open final (he went on to build a 3-1 lead in that fifth set, but Federer won the next five games in a row for a 6-4 3-6 6-1 3-6 6-3 victory).
Federer didn’t even face a break point the last time they played in the 2017 Shanghai final.
Nadal can become the first man to beat Federer 10 times at a major
He is 9-3 against Federer. Djokovic also has nine wins over Federer at Slams; no one else has more than two.
Federer finally won his first French Open 10 years ago
Having already won three Australian Opens, five Wimbledons and five US Opens, Federer finally got the last piece of the Career Slam on June 7, 2009, beating Soderling—who had taken out Nadal—to win his first clay-court major title.
The winner of Nadal versus Federer will be No. 2, the other one No. 3
Nadal has been in the Top 2 for two years straight; Federer hasn’t been in the Top 2 since last October. Djokovic is safe at No. 1.
Djokovic has won his last 10 major semifinals in a row
Since falling to Nishikori in the 2014 US Open semifinals, he has won 10 in a row. He has gone from a 14-10 record to 24-10.
Djokovic has won 12 of his last 13 matches against Top 5 players at Slams
Djokovic left the 2014 French Open with a 16-18 record against Top 5 players, but he has since gone 12-1. His only loss to a Top 5 player in almost five years: No. 3 Wawrinka in the 2016 US Open final.
Djokovic has now reached the semifinals or better at 19 of 20 majors as the No. 1 seed
His only pre-semifinal loss as the No.1 seed: Querrey in the third round of Wimbledon in 2016.
Thiem's five biggest wins have come on clay
His two wins over No. 1s (Murray at Barcelona in 2017 and Nadal at Madrid in 2018) and his three wins over No. 2s (Federer at Rome in 2016, Djokovic at Roland Garros in 2017 and Nadal at Barcelona earlier this year) have all come on this surface.
Djokovic now owns three of the six longest men’s winning streaks at majors in the Open Era
He has had a 30-in-a-row (2015 Wimbledon to 2016 Wimbledon—the record), a 27-in-a-row (2011 Wimbledon to 2012 French Open) and now a 26-in-a-row (2018 Wimbledon to 2019 French Open).
The other three in the six longest are Laver (1969 Australian Open to 1970 Wimbledon), Federer (2005 Wimbledon to 2006 French Open) and Federer (2006 Wimbledon to 2007 French Open).
Barty is the only Top 25 player to reach the women’s semifinals
The World No. 8 is joined by Konta, Vondrousova and Anisimova, who are ranked No. 26, No. 38 and No. 51, respectively.
Barty is going to be a Top 5 player now
She is projected to rise from her current career-high of No. 8 to No. 4 by reaching the semifinals—she’ll go even higher to No. 3 with a final and No. 2 with the title.
Konta is trying to become the first British woman to reach a Grand Slam final in over 40 years
The last British woman to reach to achieve this feat was Virginia Wade at Wimbledon in 1977 (she won the title). The last British woman to reach the French Open final was Sue Barker in 1976 (she won the title).
Barty is trying to become the first woman to reach 30 tour-level wins this year
With 29 coming into the semifinals, the Australian is tied with Karolina Pliskova for most tour-level wins for a woman this year.
It has been almost a decade since a teenager reached a Slam final
If Ansimova or Vondrousova win their semifinal match today, they’ll become the first teenager to reach a major final since the 2009 US Open (Caroline Wozniacki) and the first teenager to reach a French Open final since 2007 (Ana Ivanovic).
If Anisimova and Vondrousova win, it will be the first all-teenager Grand Slam final in almost 20 years
The last one was at the 1999 US Open, with Serena Williams (17) beating Martina Hingis (18) for her first big title.
Anisimova is the youngest US woman to reach a major semifinal since the 1997 US Open
Venus Williams, a younger 17, reached the final of the 1997 US Open (losing to a 16-year-old Hingis).
Anisimova is the youngest US woman to reach the French Open semis since 1990
A 14-year-old Jennifer Capriati—yes, you read that right—made the semis here in 1990 (falling to a 16-year-old Monica Seles).
Trivia Answer from Wednesday: The four players who have reached the quarters or better at both the Australian Open and Roland Garros this year are one woman (Barty) and three men (Djokovic, Nadal and Kei Nishikori).