Trivia: Who’s the only one of the four men’s semifinalists NOT to have double digit wins on clay this year?
Welcome to Men's Semifinals Day! The Top 2 players in the world are a win away from a blockbuster final at Roland Garros, with No. 2 Rafael Nadal kicking things off against Diego Schwartzman, followed by No. 1 Novak Djokovic against Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Nadal and Schwartzman just played each other 20 days ago in Rome, and Schwartzman got the biggest win of his career. Going into their quarterfinal match in the Italian capital, Schwartzman was 0-9 against Nadal, 0-17 against the Big 3 (also 0-4 against Roger Federer and 0-4 against Djokovic at the time) and 0-22 against Top 5 players—but he defied all those stats with a 6-2, 7-5 win over the world No. 2.
As if that weren’t enough, Schwartzman got the second-biggest win of his career three days ago. Going into his quarterfinal match against No. 3 Dominic Thiem here, he was 0-7 against Top 5 players at majors, and he was two points from losing late in the fourth set—but he stuck around for a 7-6 (1), 5-7, 6-7 (6), 7-6 (5), 6-2 win.
Nadal’s won 19 of his last 22 major semifinals. That stretch dates back to the start of 2010.
Nadal’s a flawless 24-0 at Roland Garros after he makes it past the quarterfinals. That’s 12-0 in semifinals here (winning 10 of those 12 semifinals in straight sets) and 12-0 in finals.
Win or lose today, Schwartzman’s breaking the Top 10 on Monday. Currently ranked No. 14, the Argentine will hop past his previous career-high of No. 11 to No. 8, no matter what happens.
Tsitsipas has beaten a world No. 1 before, and it was Djokovic. The Greek got his career-best win over the Serb in the quarterfinals of the Masters 1000 event in Shanghai last fall, 3-6, 7-5, 6-3. He’s 1-6 in his career against world No. 1s, though this is his first time playing against one at a major.
Djokovic has won 12 of his last 13 major semifinals. That stretch dates back to the start of 2015.
Only one of the final four technically got both Wednesday and Thursday off between their quarterfinal and semifinal matches. And it may be the one who needed it the most—Schwartzman wrapped up his 5:08 win over Thiem on Tuesday evening, so he’s had two full days to recover.
Djokovic and Tsitsipas played their quarterfinals on Wednesday, so they only got Thursday off, and Nadal wrapped up his quarterfinal win over Jannik Sinner just short of 1:30am on Wednesday morning.
If Nadal and Djokovic both win their semifinals, the deepest men’s rivalry in the Open Era will resume in the final. They’ve played each other 55 times before, which is the most tour-level match-ups between two men in the Open Era—Djokovic leads Nadal in the head-to-head, 29-26.
Yesterday’s Trivia: The other female qualifier to reach a Major semifinal in the Open Era was Alexandra Stevenson at Wimbledon in 1999.