DjokovicOn 11th day of the French Open, 9-time Rafael Nadal lost his second match in 11 years. On the clay courts of Roland Garros, where the Spaniard played like a king for years, it required the force of world’s best tennis player to end the emperor’s superb reign. Djokovic, who has won all over the world, moved one step closer to the Roland Garros crown, which has been eluding him all these years. Djokovic literally dominated the quarterfinal against Nadal but there were flashes of brilliance in between. Nadal showed old touch in bouncing back from 0-4 down in the first set and unsettled the world no.1. In the end, however, Djokovic prevailed and marched into the semifinals. For the place in the championship game, Djokovic will take on Andy Murray, who got past another Spaniard, David Ferrer in the other quarterfinal. It wasn’t an easy game for the Scot as he needed to fight hard with the tenacious Ferrer. Women’s world no.1 and top-seed Serena Williams brushed aside a challenge posed to her by Sara Errani of Italy and made it to the semifinal with a straight set victory. In her last three matches, Serena has made comebacks after losing the first set but on Wednesday, she made a sharp start and swept the Italian. Next up for Serena is the 23rd-seeded Timea Bacsinszky of Switzerland, who defeated Belgium’s Alison Van Uytvanck.

In one of the most awaited match of this year’s French Open, Rafael Nadal played his quarterfinals match at Philippe Chatrier against Novak Djokovic on Wednesday. The two big men in tennis were facing one another for the 44th time in their careers. They had their tasks cut out for them. Nadal was chasing his tenth crown at Roland Garros while Djokovic wanted to move closer to the only title, he has never won. As the match began, the Serb showed his intent with his razor-sharp game in the first set, broke Nadal twice and took a 4-0 lead. It wasn’t the best start for Nadal, who was celebrating his 29th birthday. But just when everyone thought about the washed out first set for the defending champion, the Spaniard bounced back to level the score 4-4. For 67 minutes, Nadal kept bringing out his range of shots that made Djokovic move on the back-foot. But the Serb kept the pressure and Nadal was forced to save a set point in the tenth game. In the twelfth game, however, Nadal missed a simple smash and when the Spaniard played a wayward drop shot, Djokovic snatched the first set 7-5. The first few games of the second set were keenly fought but Nadal looked out of focus against some clinical shot-making from Djokovic. With Nadal succumbing to the relentless returns from Djokovic, it was only a matter of time before the Serb took the second set at 6-3. The third set was the story of Djokovic’s dominant play and it was all over with the Serb losing just one game. The 7-5, 6-3, 6-1 victory took Djokovic to the semifinal where he play against Britain’s Andy Murray for a place in the final.

The Andy Murray-David Ferrer quarterfinal was a match between two of the best returners in the game. They went through a scratchy first set until a tiebreak ensued and the Scot edged out Ferrer. In the second set too, Murray played controlled tennis and raced away to a 4-1 lead before closing out the set at 6-2. The Scot continued the surge in the third set with an early 3-0 lead. Suddenly, Ferrer found a new energy and brought a turnaround to command the set. But Murray soon found his touch and led 5-4. A bit of stutter from Murray resulted in surrendering a match point and Ferrer taking away the third set at 7-5. In the fourth, the dominating Scot opened up a 5-0 lead and there was no looking back from there as Murray finished with the score of 7-6, 6-2, 5-7, 6-1.

Women’s world No.1 Serena Williams reached the semifinal of the French Open by thrashing 17th seed Sara Errani of Italy. Serena had reached quarterfinals by losing first sets against her opponents but she looked in control against the Italian. After taking the first set at 6-1 in 27 minutes, Serena faced some problems in the second from the tenacious Errani. However, Serena found the crucial break in the seventh game to open a lead. But the frustrated Serena wasted four match points before cruising to a 6-1, 6-3 in 66 minutes. Serena will take on Switzerland’s Timea Bacsinszky in the semifinal. On her part, the 23rd-seeded Bacsinszky defeated Alison Van Uytvanck of Belgium 6-4, 7-5 to earn the honor of playing with top-ranked Serena Williams. After the Martina Hingis era, Bacsinszky becomes the first Swiss female player to reach a Grand Slam semifinal since Patty Schnyder made it to the last four of the 2004 Australian Open.