French Open Daily: Day 12
After Thursday's semifinal win over Marion Bartoli, Francesca Schiavone (above) is one victory away from back-to-back French Open championships. (AP)
What's Happening Friday
Tennis Channel will air the first men's semifinal (which starts at 8 a.m. ET), with NBC picking up the second at 11 a.m. And while NBC's coverage is frequently associated with tape-delayed matches, never fear: you'll be able to watch any live action on NBCSports.com while you're waiting for the Today Show to finish.
Later on, Tennis Channel will replay both men's semifinals between 5 p.m. and midnight.
The two semifinals are:
• No. 1 Rafael Nadal vs. No. 4 Andy Murray (Court Philippe Chatrier, 8 a.m. ET)
• No. 3 Roger Federer vs. No. 2 Novak Djokovic (Court Philippe Chatrier, second match)
The complete order of play for Day 13 can be found here.
What Happened Thursday
• Li knocks off Sharapova. Maria Sharapova will likely never have a clearer path toward her first French Open title and the career Grand Slam. Alas, it wasn't enough, as the 23-year-old went down to sixth-seeded Li Na in straight sets. Sharapova double faulted 10 times in the match, including on match point, as the 29-year-old Li became the first Asian player to reach the French Open final.
• Schiavone defeats Bartoli. Marion Bartoli's bid to become the first native Frenchwoman to win at Roland Garros since 2000 was extinguished by the artful Schiavone, the defending champion who enters Saturday's final on a streak of 13 straight wins here. Gusty conditions on Court Philippe Chatrier compromised both players' games, but it was Schiavone who adjusted better, frustrating Bartoli with her variety and persistence.
• Bryan brothers lose. In perhaps the biggest upset of this year's French Open, Juan Sebastian Cabal of Colombia and Eduardo Schwank of Argentina knocked off the top-seeded Bryan brothers in the men's doubles semifinals.
Our own Jon Wertheim discusses The Streak on NPR ... Andre Agassi is teaming with a group of L.A. bankers to finance as much as $750 million in charter schools nationwide ... Andy Murray is writing a column for BBC Sport ... Andy Roddick is now designing tennis shorts for Lacoste ... A look back at the French Open that almost didn't happen.
Photo of the Day
Li Na serves to Maria Sharapova during Thursday's first women's semifinal (from SI.com's Best Shots from Day 12 at the French Open).
64 ... Number of games conceded by Rafael Nadal at this year's French Open, the most he's ever dropped en route to the semis at Roland Garros.
16 ... Months since Roger Federer's last appearance in a Grand Slam final, his longest gap since winning Wimbledon in 2003.
21 ... Years since a player aged 30 or over won a Grand Slam title, when Martina Navratilova won Wimbledon in 1990 at 33. Francesca Schiavone turns 31 in June.
At the Moulin Rouge with Bethanie Mattek-Sands.
They Said It
"As an athlete you want to win. There's no doubt. But, you know, good retail therapy and I'll be fine."
--Maria Sharapova, looking on the bright side after Thursday's semifinal loss to Li Na