Day 11 recap: Murray, Djokovic win to set up semifinal clash, Serena cruises
PARIS – Catch up from the news and results from Day 11 on Wednesday at the French Open.
Serena Williams cruises into the semifinals: For just the second time in the tournament, Serena won the first set and went on to a 6–1, 6–3 win over No. 17 Sara Errani. This was the best performance of the tournament from the No. 1 and it puts her back into the semifinals at Roland Garros for just the third time since she won the tournament the first time in 2003.
"I haven't had a great clay court season, so pretty excited to have gotten this far," Serena said. "Hopefully I can keep going. Nothing's guaranteed but just at this point I'm just fighting to just stay in the tournament."
Andy Murray finally beats David Ferrer on clay: Murray extended his clay win-streak to 15 matches with a 7–6, 6–2, 5–7, 6–1 win to return to the French Open semifinals. He will now face the only other man with an undefeated clay streak this season, who happens to also be the only man who has beaten him since February: Djokovic.
Timea Bacsinszky makes her first Slam semifinal: It wasn't easy, but the Swiss beat No. 93 Alison Van Uytvanck 6–4, 7–5 to make the semifinals. She'll face Serena.
Novak Djokovic finally beats Rafael Nadal in Paris: It's easy to go the "Lucky No. 7" route here but there was no luck involved whatsoever in Djokovic's 7–5, 6–3, 6–1 win over Nadal in the quarterfinals. Unlike Nadal's only other loss here at Roland Garros, this one didn't come out of nowhere. This win, Djokovic's first over the Spaniard in Paris in seven tries, has been in the works for years.
No other player has beaten Nadal as many times at the majors. In fact, no other man has beaten Nadal as many times period. By winning their 44th meeting—an Open Era record between two players—Djokovic closed his head-to-head gap to 21–23. He has now beaten Nadal in six of their last seven meetings and now has four wins over Nadal at the majors. No one else has more than two. After falling just short the last two years, it was only a matter of time before Djokovic finally slayed his rival on Court Philippe Chatrier.
"Obviously an ideal scenario is today could have been finals and could have a different discussion," Djokovic said after the match. "But right now I'm aware that this is a big win, which I will enjoy tonight. But tomorrow is a new day and I have to move on. It's only quarterfinals, and I want to fight for the title. That's what I came here for. I have to kind of direct my thoughts to the semis."
This was a thorough beating across every statistical metric. Djokovic served better, was more aggressive, was cleaner off the ground. While Nadal seemed stuck in second gear, Djokovic was able to sustain a level of quality that the Spaniard could not consistently match. The Spaniard arrived in Paris struggling with his consistency and confidence, and it showed throughout match.
"I am happy the way that I recovered my level the last month, but probably not enough yet to play against and to win against Novak," Nadal said. "To play, yes. I competed, but not to win."
Is this the end of Nadal's dominance at Roland Garros? That's far too early to say. But with the improvements Djokovic has made to his game and the consistently high level at which he's able to play, Nadal isn't going to be the heavy favorite he once was in Paris. But how can you seriously write off a guy who owns a 70–2 record at Roland Garros?
"The only thing that is sure is I won nine times," Nadal said. "I don't know if I gonna win ten, but nine I already won. I gonna come back next year and I gonna try to be competitive, to try to be better prepared than this year, and try to arrive with a little bit more good confidence. But I don't like to talk about dynasty or these kind of things. I have been very successful here for nine years. I lost twice. Everybody loses in every place. I lost not many times here, and that day [happened] today. Again, accept like I always accept the defeats, and the only thing is there is only one sure thing: I want to work harder even than before to come back stronger."