Friday, June 08, 2012
On Day 13 of the 2012 Roland Garros tournament Sara Errani of Italy continued her improbable run by winning the doubles final with her partner and countrywoman Roberta Vinci over the Russian pair of Nadia Petrova and Maria Kirilenko 4-6 6-4 6-2 in about 2 hours. Errani will play in the women's final against Russian Maria Sharapova on Saturday. The two have never met on the WTA tour before.
On the men's side, Day 13 was men's semifinals day and featured matches between players who had met very often. First up was World #6 David Ferrer playing his 20th career match against World #2 Rafael Nadal. The two Spaniards know each other very well, with Ferrer having only won 4 times before and once in 13 meetings on clay. However, even Ferrer must have been surprised by the shellacking he received, eventually only able to win 5 games in 3-sets of tennis, and after Nadal survived two break chances in the 5th game of the first set and raised his game, the winner of the match was never in doubt. The final score was 6-2 6-2 6-1 and is not really indicative of the fact that the 6th best player in the world and probably the world's 4th best clay court player was never really in contention.
The other match of the day was the mouht-watering 26th showdown between 16-time major champion Roger Federer and World #1 Novak Djokovic. Federer lead their head-to-head 14-11 and had beaten Djokovic at this stage last year when both players were playing better tennis than this year. Unfortunately, Federer was not able to repeat last year's magic and this year's semifinal was more like the 2011 Austraian Open semifinal than the 2011 French Open semifinal: a straight sets loss where Federer had opportunities to win sets but Djokovic was able to hold him at bay and finish him off 6-4 7-5 6-3 without expending too much energy.
Both matches ended as I predicted, setting up a history-making final on Sunday. Either Djokovic will win his 28th grand slam match in a row, becoming the first man in over 43 years to accomplish such a task, or Nadal will win his 7th major title at Roland Garros, the most anyone has ever won here, and improve his all-time record to a nonpareil 52-1. Bjorn Borg's record at Roland Garros was 49-2, and the 26-year-old Nadal has already surpassed the record of the man who previous generations thought was the best to ever play on red clay.