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Ten things to know about today's Rafael Nadal vs. Novak Djokovic French Open semifinal
The numbers these two have amassed, both individually and as opponents, are simply astounding.
Published Jun 11, 2021
WATCH: Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in 2010, during "Bag Check" segments
- Nadal and Djokovic are playing each other for the 58th time, the most tour-level meetings between two men in the Open Era. The next-deepest H2Hs are Djokovic against Roger Federer (50 meetings; Djokovic leads 27-23) and Nadal against Federer (40 meetings; Nadal leads 24-16).
- Djokovic leads the overall head-to-head, 29-28, but Nadal definitely has some bragging rights at Roland Garros. The Spaniard leads 19-7 on clay, 10-6 at Grand Slams and—most relevant—7-1 at Roland Garros.
- Nobody has beaten Nadal more times at Grand Slams than Djokovic, and nobody has beaten Djokovic more times at Grand Slams than Nadal. Djokovic has beaten Nadal six times at the Slams (next-most: Federer with four). Nadal has beaten Djokovic 10 times at the Slams (next-most: Federer with six).
- Djokovic is playing his 40th career Grand Slam semifinal. That’s the second-most Grand Slam semifinals in men's tennis history, after Federer’s 46. Djokovic has a 28-11 record in Grand Slam semifinals (5-5 in Roland Garros semifinals).
- Nadal is playing his 35th career Grand Slam semifinal. That’s the third-most Grand Slam semifinals in men's tennis history, after Federer’s 46 and Djokovic’s 40. Nadal has a 28-6 record in Grand Slam semifinals (13-0 in Roland Garros semifinals).
- Djokovic has won 14 of his last 15 Grand Slam semifinals. Since the start of 2015, his only loss in a Grand Slam semifinal came against Dominic Thiem at Roland Garros in 2019, 6-2 3-6 7-5 5-7 7-5.
- Nadal has won 20 of his last 23 Grand Slam semifinals. Since the start of 2010, the only losses came at 2018 Wimbledon (to Djokovic), the 2018 US Open (to Juan Martin del Potro) and 2019 Wimbledon (to Federer).
- Nadal and Djokovic are both trying to reach a 29th career Grand Slam final. They only trail Federer, who’s made 31 Grand Slam finals.
- No. 1 (Djokovic) and No. 2 (Medvedev) are secure in their positions on Monday's post-Roland Garros ATP rankings, but Nadal can lock himself in at No. 3 with a win today. If Nadal loses to Djokovic, he’s vulnerable to being passed by Stefanos Tsitsipas, who can rise to No. 3 by winning the title and Nadal losing in the semis.
- Don't assume that the winner will just coast to the title. Both men in the other semifinals—Tsitsipas and Alexander Zverev—have multiple wins over both Nadal and Djokovic.