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  • French Open, Day 13

Nadal's bottom-less arsenal

ESPN staff
June 8, 2012 « London 2012 just the start for GB basketball | Chartbeat test »
Rafael Nadal slipped over but still won the point against David Ferrer © Getty Images
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Nadal blows Ferrer away to reach final
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What They Said
Djokovic bullies Fed into submission

Where is the love?
Did the French fans not realise there was a semi-final taking place on Court Philippe Chatrier? Maybe they overslept, or perhaps they found out Rafael Nadal was playing in pink. Whatever the reason, there was a big surprise in store for Nadal and Ferrer as they strode on to court, with a pitiful crowd assembled in the stands. Eventually the message that two of the best players in the world were going head-to-head must have got through as supporters began to filter in. Better late than never, eh.

David v Goliath
Not only was Ferrer facing a six-time French Open champion, he was also meeting a player he had not beaten on clay since their very first meeting eight years ago in Stuttgart. Entering the contest trailing the head-to-head 15-4 - 12-1 on the red dirt - the statistics read as if it was man against boy and not the world No. 2 against the sixth best player on the planet. David made the early running, but Goliath soon woke up - Nadal cutting his man down in a merciless beating.

Who's for a hotdog?
After Nadal's procession against Ferrer, the other semi-final proved anything but a walk in the park for either man as Roger Federer met Novak Djokovic. Their toe-to-toe battle was epitomised by a point early in the second set. With Djokovic leading 40-30 in the second game, the pair threw the kitchen sink at each other, crunching groundstrokes back and forth in a punishing 36-shot rally. It had everything: mesmerising attacking play and remarkable defence. After Federer had lured in Djokovic, the Serb backpedalled for the ensuing lob before conjuring up his own hotdog special. Unfortunately for the world No. 1, Federer didn't get caught off guard and delicately put it away at the net. Marvellous stuff.

Asseyez-vous s'il vous plait
Winning a point during which you've fallen over takes the biscuit, it really does. Leading 6-2 2-1, a monster rally looked over as Nadal slipped on the clay. However, having made a return while sitting on the clay, Nadal pulled out the lob and Ferrer netted with his forehand on the turn. Ridiculous.

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