2019 Roland Garros Semifinal: Nadal (2) vs Federer (3)

Winner?


  • Total voters
    261

CiscoPC600

Hall of Fame
What's the projected weather for the start time? In other words, what's the chances it actually starts at 4AM PST?
 

imonfire

Rookie
It's been a fun couple of days living in fantasy land where we talk about Fed actually having a chance. I'm not ready for it to end.
No fantasy here, I feel the likelihood of this match ending in a 5th set tiebreaker is higher than that of Fed winning it. I'll still wake up early and root for Fed. In any case, I believe this is Thiem's year to shine (ok, that is a fantasy...).
 

augustobt

Legend
There's no chance of Federer winning this match even though I'd love it. The most probable scenario is Nadal winning in 3. I'd say something like 6-4 6-2 6-3. Maybe Fed snatches a tie-break in the best case scenario but that's it.
 

Rosstour

Legend
Check out Nadal's match record at the French Open. It's 91-2 at present, with 89 of those 91 wins being in 4 sets or less.
Also true. I understand why people think Nadal will win, but IMO Fed's chances have never been better.

Nadal simply cannot beat him on hard courts now, and that was not the case when Rafa beat Fed 5x at RG.
 

Feather

Legend
Well, here we are again, it’s Federer, it’s Nadal, it’s RG 2019 semi, fourteen years since they first locked horns and went head on for what would become one of the most historic rivalries in grand slam tennis history, we are back to beginning. The more things change, the more they stay the same…or do they? I understand that many can vividly smell the ominous scent of inevitability in the air, Nadal snapping his fingers ala Thanos and turning his adversaries into red dust, after all he is 5-0 against Federer at RG, and he is going to win this and most likely win this fairly easily, but is he really? Like the majority, I too boisterously announced that Nadal is the favorite to once again triumph in Paris and a lot of that is based on what Nadal represents when he steps foot onto Philippe Chatrier. The best way to describe Rafael Nadal at PC is by comparing him to a full scale tsunami – You know exactly what’s coming, and no matter how well you think you are prepared, you find yourself overwhelmed by the sheer brutality of its force. A living extinction event, Nadal destroys everything that stands in his way.

Whether you categorize everything I said as either romanticizing or recalling a traumatic experience, the one thing that cannot be overlooked is that Nadal of today has declined, and he has been declining for the past five years. A testament to the player he was, and still is, but the Nadal you see today isn’t the one that can break the sound barrier with his incomparably lethal combination of footspeed and footwork on a tennis court, even if it is made of crushed red brick. For me, Nadal’s prime ended that fateful night during the AO 2014 final, he hasn’t been the same since. If you are thinking Nadal is going to have his way in this semi-final, I think you might be surprised, Federer has a legitimate shot to win this match, and both of them know this.

Nadal tormented Federer on PC by his immaculate court coverage, shrinking his side of the court down and demanding that Federer hit at times up to three winners in each rally to get the ball past him. This was a very key aspect in pressing Federer and forcing the errors, Nadal as great as he still is does not possess this same footspeed, now you can say that Federer doesn’t have the footspeed either since he is even further declined than Nadal is, it will be ten years at the next AO that Federer left his prime behind, but he has few things that are now in his favor. The first being that the new racket head is allowing Federer to step into the court, instead of step backing, the larger sweet spot means Federer is less likely to shank the ball when taking it on the rise. If Federer starts to step into the court, and starts taking that ball on the rise and hits with topspin he will start robbing Nadal of time on the ball, Nadal’s footspeed and court coverage is the not the same as before, and a distributed attack of redirecting the ball both cross court and down the line will challenge Nadal’s balance. If Nadal steps back to allow himself time to get to the ball, he offers up valuable real estate, inviting Federer to now press forward and demand high quality passing to get the ball past him.

Nadal will have no choice but to mix his game up here, the attack to the backhand will not be as effective and rewarding as it has been in the past, the attack needs to split and he will need more variation than ever before on this court. The body serve is going to be key for Nadal, and I expect him to try to tie Federer up so can implement his will onto the point and basically do what he said, put his nemesis into difficult positions on the court. Federer struggles to move to his forehand, so while that is the dangerous side, the reigning King of Clay will need to go for it and do what Federer will do to him, and that is attack his reduced foot speed. I want to stress here that Federer is not resigned to his fate, he is going out there to win, if Nadal tries to play aggressively ala hard court tennis style, which I have seen creeping into his game to cut down the length of points that can play into Federer’s hands who feeds off of aggression.

The weather is not going to allow for a lot of bounce, make no mistake about it, this is detrimental to the current Nadal, heavy conditions don’t favor him, yes, Federer’s serving will be impacted also, but his loss is less than his opponents. Federer has had a very good first serve percentage here, it is absolutely essential he replicates that level of excellence in the semi, as Nadal is one of the best at hurting his second serve by administrating his high looping forehand return which pushes Federer back. Now, if I was Federer’s coach, I wouldn’t advise him to think this a best of five set match, everyone knows the stats of Nadal’s best of five set record, thinking about trying to climb that mountain is as daunting as actually trying to do it on the court. Instead, I would advise him to play this as a sprint best of three match, it changes the mind set dramatically, because the one thing Nadal has had difficulty doing is winning matches after losing the first couple of sets in slams, granted on clay this is about as rare as it gets, but if Federer focuses on getting the early sets without thinking of it being a best of five, the question will then be asked of Nadal. If I was Nadal’s coach I would certainly look to bring variety into the game and split the attack to both sides of Federer, to get him moving, because I am not sure Nadal will be able to pin him into that backhand side all match long.



Nadal is the favorite, but Federer has a very legitimate chance to win this one and they both know this.
Very good post , Hitman.

Pretty sure, this time Roger Federer is not going to resign to his fate, he is going for the win. He will take inspiration from his AO 2017 final. Whether he succeeds in beating Rafa or not we will see. He will certainly fight. He is a champion, he is not going to accept the lose as a foregone conclusion.
 

Raining hopes

Hall of Fame
As this match is nearing I feel as if Federer has no chance. Not that I thought he had a lot before . However then I was thinking a loss won't hurt much. Now I am not sure.

Whatever, this is Fedal and a celebration of the sport for what it has been for over 2 decades. I will try to enjoy it.
 

uscwang

Hall of Fame
Changed vote to Nadal in 5.
Federer has always won a set against Nadal in RG except in 2008, the year of mono. I think he could do a bit better this year given their recent h2h.
 

WhiskeyEE

G.O.A.T.
Changed vote to Nadal in 5.
Federer has always won a set against Nadal in RG except in 2008, the year of mono. I think he could do a bit better this year given their recent h2h.
40 km/h wind is a bit of a doozy though. I have no idea what to expect from that. Leaning toward it helping Nadal get a routine win.
 
Nadal will win in 4! His consistency over BO5 on clay and he will wear fed down. Only djoko can stop Rafa here. You need to be able to go 4-5 hours to stop Rafa at RG.
 
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Deleted member 763691

Guest
Also true. I understand why people think Nadal will win, but IMO Fed's chances have never been better.

Nadal simply cannot beat him on hard courts now, and that was not the case when Rafa beat Fed 5x at RG.
Yes Federer's aggressive backhand has given him the edge on hardcourts in recent years.....however I think Federer is psyched-out when he plays Rafa at slams because of the best-of-5-sets format and Federer feels winning 3 sets is daunting so he conserves energy and donates points in the process.....so if they met at last year's US Open or this year's AO it'd go 5 sets and Rafa would have a chance to steal it, whereas psychologically Federer can handle Rafa in best-of-3-sets because its easy psychologically :)
 
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Deleted member 763691

Guest
Whatever happens I'm pretty sure Rafa will play nervous in the 1st Set, he surely has to be after losing 5 in a row to Federer regardless of the fact it was all on hardcourt.
Plus Rafa usually looks nervous in the 1st Set when we plays Federer anyway.....remember Rafa's slow start at 2011 Roland Garros Final, 2012 Australian Open Semi, 2014 Australian Open Semi and 2017 Australian Open Final :)
 
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jimjam

Professional
As with all the other fed fanboys here, I don't think Fed will win.

Or do i?

Either way I don't think it will hurt if he loses.

Or do i?

****, who are we kidding. Our hopes are building. He CAN win.

Wait, he WILL win, won't he?

Oh **** I'm gonna be crying later today.
 
Hope the match gets delayed, agreed to playing doubles right when the match starts, forgot about the match :/ Who the hell invites to play during such an important match
 

imageFAM

Rookie
Hope it is a complete washout today. Both semis on Saturday, final on Sunday with one day recovery to see who's the mightiest.
 

Fedalic

New User
Does Rafa even have a chance, hes been losing since 2014. How is going to handle Fed's dtlbh, no idea. Congrats to Fed for making it in the finals again.
 

jxs653

Professional
Their first encounter in Roland Garros was in Semi Final in 2005. In 14 years they still meet at the same stage. Just amazing. Their longevity. Their rivalry.
 

Otacon

Hall of Fame
Roger Federer's new BH he has been using since 2017 is very difficult to hit on clay, for the duration of a match. Because it's a flat shot, he has to take the ball upward trajectory. But the combination of Rafael Nadal's huge top spin and bad rebounds on the clay trenches confidence in this shot. It does not have a direct impact on Rafa's game. Roger will use it because he will have to stand near his baseline. By hitting it down the line, he will prevent Nadal from turning around his forehand.

On what I have seen since the beginning of the tournament, Federer hits especially top spin and sliced BHs. Which makes me say that he does not try to hit flat backhands on clay. Yet he will have to do it. Because it's an effective shot. Not just to hit winners, no! But because Roger will also make UEs, very early in the rally. Consequence: the opponent can not play. More exactly, Federer deprives him of rhythm.

Taking the ball early, hitting his BH flat, he will send a message to Nadal: "If you play there, I will enter the court, hit my backhand very hard and the point will be over. Winner or UE, it will be over. "But Rafa hates when his opponent decides the end of a point. He absolutely wants to do it himself, to be the master of the rallies. I can not judge if Roger's BH is better than before. But it does not matter much.

What I know is that he's better because he makes his opponents worse. How? By not giving them any rhythm. Here lies the most important effect of Federer's new BH. Finally, let's never forget the essential: the best way to tackle a match against Nadal on Philippe-Chatrier is not to try to win it, but to face it in the most intelligent way. However, facing Nadal, to play a long point is always a tactical mistake.

Mats Wilander on L'Equipe
 
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Feather

Legend
Heavy conditions like today favours clay specialists.

I'd be surprised if Nadal doesn't win in straight sets :cautious:
Disagree! Rafa was upset at RG on a day when the conditions were heavy by Robin Soderling!

That said, I don't see current Roger Federer having the tools to do what Robin did that day
 
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Deleted member 77403

Guest
Heavy conditions like today favours clay specialists.

I'd be surprised if Nadal doesn't win in straight sets :cautious:
Federer thrives in heavy clay conditions. Take a look at his performances at Hamburg, notoriously known for heavy conditions. People saying Federer cannot hit through the court because it is slow, aren't seeing that if Nadal is unable to get Federer into an uncomfortable position by getting the ball to bounce up high, Federer will have a better chance to T off a shot which first opens up the court, and then allowing him to step in and blast a winner into the opposite direction. I can garantee that Nadal will be doing a lot of running from side to side today.
 

Jaitock1991

Hall of Fame
Also true. I understand why people think Nadal will win, but IMO Fed's chances have never been better.

Nadal simply cannot beat him on hard courts now, and that was not the case when Rafa beat Fed 5x at RG.
Isner and Djoker the only ones to have even pushed him to 5(outside of his two losses of course). No words can properly describe how redicilous Nadal is on clay. Crazy.
 

Djokovic2011

Bionic Poster
This is Nadal's only chance to ever beat Federer again.

At the FO when Federer is 38 after a long match vs Wawrinka in the previous round. If Nadal doesn't win here he should retire.
Do you think Nadal will ever beat Fedovic again on a non clay surface t_p?
 

StrongRule

G.O.A.T.
So far Federer played better tennis during the tournament than Nadal did. Hope Nadal can improve his game. If he doesn't beat Federer this time then he will never beat him again, that is for sure.
 

Feather

Legend
Federer thrives in heavy clay conditions. Take a look at his performances at Hamburg, notoriously known for heavy conditions. People saying Federer cannot hit through the court because it is slow, aren't seeing that if Nadal is unable to get Federer into an uncomfortable position by getting the ball to bounce up high, Federer will have a better chance to T off a shot which first opens up the court, and then allowing him to step in and blast a winner into the opposite direction. I can garantee that Nadal will be doing a lot of running from side to side today.
Remember 2011 RG final, the one set Roger won was in heavy conditions. Towards the end of second set it rained, if my memory serves me right. And Roger took the third set.

Roger's main problem is the high bounce to his back hand on clay. No doubt about it. Also his slice becomes useless on clay against Rafa.

I think heavy conditions help his slice too. Of course relatively speaking..
 

RF-18

Talk Tennis Guru
I see the girls are playing. So we should see a 1pm Fedal encounter? Please don't rain...
 
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