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French Open findings - day 11

Rafael Nadal at the French Open
by Stuart Appleby
Wednesday 5 June 2013

Wimbledon.com's thoughts on the pick of the action from day eleven at Roland Garros...

Rampant Rafa tames Swiss
Rafael Nadal has only lost one match at Roland Garros in eight years and he didn't look like losing another on Wednesday. The Spaniard had all the answers, and plenty more, to power Stanislas Wawrinka off the Philippe Chatrier court in unforgiving style in the Parisian sunshine. Nadal's 6-2 6-3 6-1 victory over the Swiss, who looked jaded following his mercurial efforts against Richard Gasquet in the previous round, sets up a repeat of last year's final at the semi-final stage of the French Open. As expected, Novak Djokovic is the man who will go toe-to-toe with the seven-time Paris champion on Friday. 

Novak keeps his side of the bargain
Experience counts for so much at the business end of Grand Slam tournaments, and Djokovic used all his nous to bring down the curtain on Tommy Haas's resurgent run to the last eight. The world number one made no mistake in ensuring he would renew his French Open rivalry with Nadal again, but seeing off the oldest man left in the draw was never going to be a straight forward assignment. Djokovic prevailed against his 35-year-old opponent, 6-2 6-3 6-1 on Court Suzanne Lenglen, but the German certainly won over many more admirers.

"I know what it takes"
Djokovic told his post-match press conference he knows "what it takes" to knock Nadal off his perch on clay. The Serbian has got the formula right before, his defeat of the Spaniard in Monte Carlo in April, for example, being evidence of that. But to conquer Rafa in his own backyard is another story, as Novak found out last year, despite playing brilliantly through large parts of their final.

Sharapova edges Paris thriller
Maria Sharapova is known the world over for her battling qualities on a tennis court and she dug deep again in Paris to keep alive her chances of winning a second successive Roland Garros crown. To her immense credit, Jelena Jankovic stood in Sharapova's way for large parts of their duel. The Serbian outplayed, outmuscled and outthought her Russian adversary in the first set to win it 6-0, and despite having chances to win the match in the second, Sharapova, as she seems to do so often, dug herself out of trouble and levelled the match. Momentum was with the 26-year-old in the decider and she didn't waste any of it, grinding the third set out 6-3. The 2004 Wimbledon champion now faces Victoria Azarenka, who edged Maria Kirilenko 7-6 (7-3) 6-2 on Wednesday, in Thursday's semi-final. With such a quick turnaround, could it be a survival of the fittest?

 Coming up on Thursday

Philippe Chatrier:

Mixed doubles final:
Kristina Mladenovic/Daniel Nestor v Lucie Hradecka /Frantisek Cermak Mixed doubles final

Singles semi-finals
Victoria Azarenka v Maria Sharapova
Serena Williams v Sara Errani

What did we miss? Let us know in the comments below...

Follow the French Open live on ITV and at rolandgarros.com

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