French Open: Men's semi-finals as they happened

David Ferrer beats Jo-Wilfried Tsonga to set up a French Open final against Rafael Nadal on Sunday.

7 June 2013 Last updated at 18:46 GMT

Get involved

To get involved contact us in any of the following ways

As it happened

  1. 1937: 

    We were promised a wonderful day of tennis and that is what unfolded. A gripping four-hour contest between two of the sport's greats followed by a less tense, but an impressive victory nonetheless for David Ferrer. There'll be more live text commentary on Saturday for the women's final between Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova. But, for this evening, it's over and out from the live text team. Bye.

  2. 1933: 

    Seven-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal is understandably the overwhelming favourite for Sunday's final but that was an impressive victory for Ferrer, a man who has yet to lose a set at Roland Garros this year. One other thing, that's the first time Ferrer has beaten a top-10 player since he defeated Tomas Berdych in the 2012 Davids Cup final.


    Kevin Chittock: Ferrer is always doggedly relentless, but that was outstanding. How many men reach a GS final without dropping a set?

    Travis: Congratulations, David Ferrer. What an achievement to get through to your first slam final. Earnt the right to lose to Nadal.

    Evonne O: Shame on the French to boo at Tsonga! At least us Brits would never boo at Andy!

  4. 1927: 

    The 31-year-old Ferrer waves to the few who remain on Chatrier, beaming after becoming the third oldest first-time Grand Slam finalist in the Open era. He has reached six Grand Slam semi-finals, but never has he gone further - until today, and that's all that matters to the world number five. He's ensured Sunday's final will be an all-Spanish affair and many are already predicting a cakewalk.

    GAME, SET AND MATCH- *Ferrer 6-1 7-6 (7-3) 6-2 Tsonga

    All is going well for Tsonga until a double fault, his third of the match, ruins things and the Frenchman unravels, another unforced error allows Ferrer to claw his way back to deuce and the Spaniard secures match point with a whipping forehand down the line. Tsonga then tells the story of this match in one shot when he overcooks a forehand, and it's game over. Ferrer falls to the dirt.

    Ferrer 6-1 7-6 (7-3) 5-2 Tsonga*
    Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

    So much sweat has dripped from Ferrer's body in pursuit of reaching a first Grand Slam final that his white tee is clinging to his torso. The Spaniard relentlessly dashes to and fro before charging towards the tape to smash the ball out of Tsonga's grasp. The Frenchman remains in contention, but then meekly surrenders by only getting the tip of the graphite onto one of Ferrer's forehands.

    Simon Briggs, Daily Telegraph tennis correspondent, BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

    "If Ferrer had a cheer squad, they would be singing: 'We can see you sneaking out.' There are a few people heading or the exits now."

    Listen to full commentary on BBC Radio 5 live sports extra.

    *Ferrer 6-1 7-6 (7-3) 4-2 Tsonga

    Ironic cheers from the Parisians when Ferrer nets a backhand, allowing Tsonga to stutter to 40-30 and then some fans then rise to their seats when the home boy holds. At this stage, those in the Frenchman's camp perhaps feel every game is a bonus.

    Alastair Eykyn, BBC Radio 5 live sports extra

    "That may be Tsonga's goose cooked. He's played a clumsy match."


    From Andrew in Edinburgh, via text on 81111: I see Jo Wilfred making a Tsonga and dance as everything goes against him. Come on Ferrer!

    Ferrer 6-1 7-6 (7-3) 4-1 Tsonga*

    There's only three places separating these two in the world rankings but there's a gulf between the world number five and Tsonga when it comes to matters of the mind. The Spaniard leaks one point on his serve, but that's as bad as it gets and his camp raise their clenched fists. The end is indeed nigh, as they say.

    *Ferrer 6-1 7-6 (7-3) 3-1 Tsonga

    Another despairing scream from Tsonga because he has erred once again and before I can type sacrebleu, Ferrer has notched two break points. Tsongs's serve is more reliable than his groundstrokes, though, and an ace calms the nerves and we're at deuce thanks to a forehand winner. Third break point Ferrer ,Tsonga's feet fail to move and he meekly nets.

    Ferrer 6-1 7-6 (7-3) 2-1 Tsonga*

    Tsonga, on the defensive, sticks out his racquet and his backhand gets over the tape, but he quickly turns defence into attack with a sublime crosscourt forehand which kisses the paint. It was majesty like that which helped him defeat Roger Federer. The 28-year-old needs to carve out such shots more regularly if he is to achieve a remarkable comeback.


    Clare Marsh: Come on Tsonga!! Lets get the guy who beat Federer to give a show and lift the crowd in Chatrier.

    Joe Kabyemela: I know he came from two sets down to beat Federer two years ago but Tsonga is so below par today I can't see the same happening.

    Phil Alteirac: Where is the Tsonga we saw on Tuesday vs Fed? Looks totally uninterested.

    *Ferrer 6-1 7-6 (7-3) 1-1 Tsonga

    Tsonga has started talking to himself, which is never a good sign no matter who you are. An ace helps him wriggle free from deuce and a loud "OUT!" from the line judge signals that Ferrer has gone long. It's as you were.

    Ferrer 6-1 7-6 (7-3) 1-0 Tsonga*

    Hello again. There's still tennis being played on Chatrier, eh. Nice. The prospect of becoming the first Frenchman to reach the final at Roland Garros since 1988 seems to hang heavily on Tsonga's shoulders. Two sets down against the bullheaded Ferrer. That's not good. The Frenchman overcooking his shots, another one of his wild forehands whizzes past the baseline to move Ferrer within a point of the game. Another unforced Tsonga error. Another Ferrer hold.


    And with that I'm out of here - Aimee Lewis is back in the game.

    GAME AND SECOND SET- *Ferrer 6-1 7-6 (7-3) Tsonga

    Tame stuff from Jo-Wilfried Tsonga as another unforced error gives David Ferrer five set points.

    The Spaniard is too long with a backhand to give Tsonga a chink of hope, but he makes no mistake with a lovely drop shot to go two sets up.

    *Ferrer 6-1 6-6 (5-1) Tsonga

    David Ferrer takes a mini-break at the start of the tie-break as Tsonga is off target again, and he goes 3-0 up as the Frenchman is yet again off target on his backhand.

    Back on serve, but back in the net from Tsonga and Ferrer can taste a two-set lead.

    TIE-BREAK- Ferrer 6-1 6-6 Tsonga*

    Tsonga out of his chair early, knowing that he is one game away from levelling up at one set all. But Ferrer digs his heels in and goes 30-0 up with two clinical points, he then slaps one into the net, but a loose shot again from Tsonga gives Ferrer the advantage and it's tie-break time.


    Stephanie Siu: I know it looks that way right now, but an all-Spanish RG final would be kind of boring in my opinion. Go Jo!

    Jack O'Regan: Tsonga has to beat Ferrer for a decent final. Ferrer can't stand up to Nadal but Tsonga can beat anyone on his day.

    Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
    *Ferrer 6-1 5-6 Tsonga

    Schizophrenic stuff again from Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, as he mixes up massive aces, cross-court winners and rank woeful shots out of the court.

    Get your head set Jo and we can have a game on here. He's spending most of his time haranguing line judges at the moment as he goes 30-40 down, but rescues it with another booing ace. A sublime drop shot from Ferrer puts him in charge, but Tsonga saves break point with another huge serve.

    Ferrer chalks up another one with a corker of a return, but Tsonga saves it as Ferrer can't convert a volley at the net after a cracking rally! Point of the game. Ferrer then brings up break point three with a great shot back across the net, only for Tsonga to save it again with a blinding pass.

    The quality has gone up three or four notches in a few minutes. Tsonga presses home the advantage and it's 6-5...


    Alexander J Green: Okay, stands a bit fuller now...larger crowd now equalling better play from Tsonga as well.

    Reece Attwood: Finally a hold of serve this second set. Such a poor game so far especially when you look at what came prior to it.

    Ferrer 6-1 5-5 Tsonga*

    Ferrer serving to stay in the second set then, but he is blown off the court by a flurry of Tsonga strikes as the Frenchman looks to seize the initiative. Better late than never, and Tsonga then has a stand-up row with the umpire over a line call. The crowd whistle furiously as a Ferrer shot is ruled in.

    But they are soon off their seats again as Tsonga fizzes a huge two-handed backhand down the line to make it 15-30! Again though he follows it up with a loose shot to allow Ferrer off the hook, before timing another cross-court forehand beautifully to give him a set point.

    He giveth, he taketh away as Tsonga then goes long yet again. Deuce. Tsonga into the net halfway up - unforced error number 32 - and number 33 gives Ferrer the game...


    Flemings Keem: Tsonga's unforced errors are taking a toll on him!!! Spain must be celebrating already.

    Jaqen: Ferrer deserves to be in a Grand Slam Final.

    *Ferrer 6-1 4-5 Tsonga

    Ace o'clock for Tsonga as his finds the white line out wide, the big man sensing that this set is there for the taking after all if he can cut out his shoddiness.

    Ferrer hits the net and Tsonga is back in front.

    TSONGA BREAKS SERVE- Ferrer 6-1 4-4 Tsonga*

    Over half of the court is in shadow now as this marathon day of tennis ticks on.

    Jo-Wilfried Tsonga has found his mojo maybe, pummelling a snorter of a backhand down the line to bring up three break points.

    That was top drawer stuff, and when Ferrer can only find the top of the net it's back to all-square.

    FERRER BREAKS SERVE- *Ferrer 6-1 4-3 Tsonga

    Jo-Wilfried Tsonga has made 26 unforced errors to David Ferrer's 11. That says it all really.

    Time and again he pumps the ball wide of the lines and he coughs up two more break points for Ferrer.

    Tsonga is a bit embarrassed as the crowd try and rouse him but he digs deep and finds a big serve to save one - before saving the second with a peach of an inside-out forehand! What a hit son!

    The crowd love that - but not the weak volley which gives Ferrer break point trois. A double fault then makes it 4-3 to Ferrer...

    Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
    Ferrer 6-1 3-3 Tsonga*

    Jo-Wilfried Tsonga would be playing a hell of a match if the court was about six feet longer. He drifts a shot past the baseline for the umpteenth time already and before you know it David Ferrer is 40-15 up. He's too easy to play against at the moment, the big French lad.

    Ferrer just keeps it down the middle and levels the scores.


    David Ferrer is on a five-match losing streak against Top 10 opposition. His last win against a Top 10 player came against No. 6 Tomas Berdych in the 2012 Davis Cup Final.

    He's looking good value here though.

    FERRER BREAKS SERVE- *Ferrer 6-1 2-3 Tsonga

    This is much more like it from the big man! Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is starting to shift around the court now, moving with an ease which could worry David Ferrer.

    He crunches a fine shot down the line to get the crowd on their feet for the first time, but is then beaten by a dart and volley at the net from Ferrer. Tsonga then reverts to type with a very loose shot to give Ferrer his first break point of the set - and one he takes.


    flyingcod: I thought we just had the men's final, what's this being playing now? The 3rd/4th playoff?

    Ferrer 6-1 1-3 Tsonga*

    If Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is to make Sunday's final against Rafael Nadal he needs to cut down on the unforced error count. He's been as leaky as the England midfield so far, gifting David Ferrer 18 points already.

    Again Ferrer is able to take a service game with minimal fuss, sealing the deal with a smash from centre court.

    David Ferrer

    David Ferrer barely broke sweat in the first set but he's already looking troubled by Jo-Wilfried Tsonga's start to the second. Maybe this one will go the distance after all...

    *Ferrer 6-1 0-3 Tsonga

    David Ferrer hasn't dropped a set in the French yet and he won't want to start now.

    But Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is a new man with that new T-shirt, manoeuvring the Spaniard around the court with some savage hitting from the baseline. Another hit is too good for Ferrer and he eases into a three-game lead.

    TSONGA BREAKS SERVE- Ferrer 6-1 0-2 Tsonga*

    Jo-Wilfried Tsonga also elects for T-shirt number two as he comes out to receive. I detect - maybe not a bounce - but definitely a slight lift in his step as he takes the game to Ferrer. A cracking backhand makes it 0-30 and a wayward shot from the Spaniard gives big JWT his first break point.

    He gobbles it up as well, smashing one down the line to go 2-0 up. The comeback is on...

    *Ferrer 6-1 0-1 Tsonga

    There is a change of T-shirt now from David Ferrer as he slips into a white-and-grey effort for the start of set two. Maybe a change in mindset from Jo-Wilfried Tsonga as well as he manages three points without an error to take charge.

    Ferrer slices an approach tamely into the net before a Sampras-style smash from Tsonga gives him the game. The crowd come alive!


    Let's just forget that one Jo. Second set time...

    GAME AND FIRST SET- Ferrer 6-1 Tsonga*

    David Ferrer was probably expecting a blitz in front of a partisan crowd here, but instead he's waltzed to the first set before he's even had to change a T-shirt.

    The signs of improvement for Jo-Wilfried Tsonga continue as he brings up 15-15 with a lovely crashing volley from halfway down the court. Ferrer is unflustered though, keeps it tidy and closes out the set in just 33 minutes.

    *Ferrer 5-1 Tsonga

    There we go! Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is on the scoreboard as he finally holds a service game.


    Alexander J Green: Pressure on Tsonga is nothing compared to pressure on Murray at Wimbledon. Roland Garros Stands are empty...

    Flemings Keen: Tsonga being taught what to do on court like a kid by Ferrer... Federer must be in utter shock and disbelief!!!

    Andrew: If Ferrer wins this, we might as well just hand over the trophy to Nadal tonight.


    Jo-Wilfried Tsonga serving to stay in the first set then already. It's not going to plan for the French so far...

    Ferrer 5-0 Tsonga*

    That's better from the big man, as Jo-Wilfried Tsonga gets the crowd in vocal mood for the first time as he drives a beauty down the line for the cleanest of winners.

    He soon hoops another one wide though to slow any momentum, but maybe the tension is starting to spread as David Ferrer suddenly clubs two shots long under no real pressure to level it up at deuce.

    Ferrer then plants a backhand into the net to give Tsonga a glimpse - one he has to take you feel in this set - but the Frenchman is again too long from the back of the court.

    Ferrer recovers and a lovely cross-court shot gives him the game.

    FERRER BREAKS SERVE- *Ferrer 4-0 Tsonga

    Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was at the court for seven hours or so before this game even started, apparently, and he's started like a man who has been hanging about.

    Sloppy stuff so far, and he again overshoots twice to give away cheap points to David Ferrer, who then hammers a beauty of a backhand down the line to give him a double-break chance. Tsonga then punts one woefully wide and that's 4-0. Maybe this one will be over soon...


    Where do you set the benchmark for 'veteran' in the tennis world? David Ferrer seems to have been around for an eternity but he's only 31. Mind you, I was staggered to discover that Robbie Keane is only 32 last night...

    Anyway after a change of ends here we go.

    Ferrer 3-0 Tsonga*

    This is only the fourth time these two have met in action, with Ferrer leading 2-1 so far. The Spaniard has never been to a Grand Slam final but is putting the pressure on early doors here as he goes 3-0 up. Tsonga's radar is awry as he again pumps two shots long.

    FERRER BREAKS SERVE- *Ferrer 2-0 Tsonga

    You can hear a pin drop, or a baguette maybe, as Jo-Wilfried Tsonga serves for the first time. For a man carrying the sporting weight of a nation he's light on his feet as he blitzes a forehand down the line.

    If I know anything about David Ferrer though, it's that he will keep on coming all day long. He sticks in there, retrieving from way beyond the baseline to pick up two points and forcing Tsonga into an error as he larrups a shot long and coughs up a break point chance.

    It's one Ferrer takes as Tsonga hits long. Advantage Espana.

  48. 1719: 
    Ferrer 1-0 Tsonga*

    David Ferrer puts himself under immediate pressure as he goes 0-30 down in his opening service game but the Spaniard keeps cool, finding an ace to bring the scores back level.

    The pair settle into a rhythm of lusty baseline shots before Ferrer pulls off a cheeky drop shot to move 40-30 up. He then hits one long to go to deuce but sees it out to get his name on the board.

  49. 1715: 

    Here we go then, David Ferrer to serve first...

    Jo-Wilfried Tsonga v David Ferrer
  50. 1715: 

    Two-time French Open finalist Kim Clijsters: Yeahhhhhhh, amazing effort from these guys! My blood pressure is too high right now :-)

  51. 1712: 

    Yannick Noah. France. 1983.

    'Every Breath You Take' by the Police was number one in the charts the last time a Frenchman won the French Open. Can Jo-Wilfried Tsonga end that wait? He's out on court with the obdurate David Ferrer now.

    If this one goes on for nearly five hours as well we'll be in trouble...

  52. 1710: 

    Epic stuff in Paris. Epic stuff in Salford as Aimee Lewis goes for a lie down, so you're stuck with me, Tom Rostance, for an hour or so.

    Like an episode of Bullseye, I'm the 'non-tennis player' of the pair. Let's just get through this one eh...?

  53. 1707: 

    Four hours and 37 minutes... Four hours and 37 minutes... Four hours and 37 minutes... I've been typing for four hours and 37 minutes. I mean, Nadal needed four hours and 37 minutes to do away with the world number one. No time to marvel at the Spaniard and his defeated opponent, though, as David Ferrer and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga are politely waving to the Chatrier crowd.


    Zac Clayton: If I could have one superpower it would be Rafa Nadal's forehand on clay!

    Tuhin Mukherjee: Really Nadal is awesome. He can take his play to such a level where others can't just think. My heartbeat almost stopped. Vamos!

    Seb H: Pat on the back to Djokovic though. What a great effort!

  55. 1700: 

    "It's very special for me," says Nadal in French. "Novak is a very good champion." And then the on-court interview goes beyond the capabilities of my GCSE French, which was obtained quite some time ago... He definitely doesn't mention how many pets he has or what his favourite hobbies are. Stand by, Nadal is now speaking English. Bravo!

    "This court is the most special one on the tour," he says. "Novak's a fighter. When I was serving for the match in the fourth, I was serving against the wind so I knew that was going to be a very tough game. I was ready for the fight. In Australia in 2012 it was a similar match and he won, today it's me."

    GAME, SET AND MATCH- Djokovic 4-6 6-3 1-6 7-6 (7-3) 7-9 Nadal*

    Thunderous roars from the Chatrier faithful as Nadal passes Djokovic with a curling forehand to collect his second point of the game. Djokovic's radar malfunctions at the most inopportune time and it's three match points to the defending champion. A 17th Grand Slam final eighth French Open final is on horizon... and Uncle Toni is on his feet as Djokovic has directed a forehand long.

    Neil Harman, the Times tennis correspondent, BBC Radio 5 live

    "It's interesting that the French umpire called the score in English there. I think everyone's losing it a touch."

    Listen to full commentary from the BBC Radio 5 live team on our website. (UK users only.)

    *Djokovic 4-6 6-3 1-6 7-6 (7-3) 7-8 Nadal

    The clock keeps on ticking on and Nadal will not relent. The man from Serbia can merely take one point from the Nadal serve. The players stride towards their chairs and Djokovic is arguing about something or other with the umpire. "Pasqual, you're not making a decision," moans Djokovic.

    Alastair Eykyn, BBC Radio 5 live

    "You have to marvel at the resilience, stamina and skill of these players. Wow. An incredible match just gets better and better."

    Listen to full commentary from the BBC Radio 5 live team on our website. (UK users only.)

    WHAT A SHOT!- Djokovic 4-6 6-3 1-6 7-6 (7-3) 7-7 Nadal*

    A hotdog from Nadal and the Spaniard can put on his top hat and start brushing off his tails after such razzle-dazzle from the baseline. Despite such Fred Astaire-like footwork from the Spaniard, though, Djokovic - on a four-match winning run against top four opposition - is prepared to go toe-to-toe, blow-to-blow with the third seed.


    Paul Gutteridge: Nadal vs Djokovic - was never going to be a three setter, was it!?

    Clare Marsh: You feel that after this match the final isn't going to be half as good!!

    Ramesh Kumar: This is the best French Open match I've seen in years.


    British tennis player Ross Hutchins: Epiiiicccccccccc shots, epic match!!!! Frightening how fit these guys are!

    *Djokovic 4-6 6-3 1-6 7-6 (7-3) 6-7 Nadal

    When will David Ferrer and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga be allowed to start their ding-dong? Who knows. It's difficult to answer anything at this point of a match, just sit back and enjoy the spectacle. Djokovic slips on the baseline and goes on to complain about the slippery conditions on the baseline. And patience deserts Djokovic who shoots wildly, gifting Nadal the game.

    Djokovic 4-6 6-3 1-6 7-6 (7-3) 6-6 Nadal*

    Boom-badda-bing. Ruthlessly efficient serving from the Serb, a cute backhand ensuring he remains on Nadal's coattails.

    *Djokovic 4-6 6-3 1-6 7-6 (7-3) 5-6 Nadal

    In the time it has taken Djokovic and Nadal to play 11 games of the fifth set, Serena Williams had already booked her place in the women's final. Nadal holds in quick-sharp time, though, finishing with an ace to the wings and we're set to gauge whether Djokovic has enough gravel left for guts.

    Djokovic 4-6 6-3 1-6 7-6 (7-3) 5-5 Nadal*

    Nerveless stuff from Djokovic as he dashes towards the net and lets rip with what looks like a winning forehand into the corner, but somehow Nadal's incredible lob grazes the baseline. Djokovic can't quite believe it. He looks over his shoulder as if to check Nadal had actually won the point. The game concludes in the Serb's favour though and, an hour after the set started, we're all square.

    *Djokovic 4-6 6-3 1-6 7-6 (7-3) 4-5 Nadal

    Nadal has the look of an animal which has caught its prey and is preparing to rip it to shreds. The third seed's forehand epitomises such savagery. The Spaniard holds. What has the bruised Djokovic got left?

    Neil Harman, the Times tennis correspondent, BBC Radio 5 live

    "You have to give credit the umpire. He never took his eye off Djokovic, and got it right.

    "The Nadal box are on their feet, applauding their man. Great defence. My goodness. Which way is this match going to turn next?"

    Listen to full commentary from the BBC Radio 5 live team on our website. (UK users only.)

    NADAL BREAKS SERVE- Djokovic 4-6 6-3 1-6 7-6 (7-3) 4-4 Nadal*

    Nadal thinks he has successfully set a booby-trap and is punching the air in delight after grabbing the first two points of the game. Djokovic, though, is not one to aimlessly wander a tennis courts without being alert to such perils. The Serb gets himself back into contention only for Nadal to caress the line with a fabulous forehand winner. Break point. Shoddy from the Spaniard as he plonks a forehand wild and wide. Nadal closes his eyes. He grimaces. Has his opportunity gone? Don't be silly. Second break point when Djokovic touches the net before the ball goes out of play. The world number one makes amends, but can do little to prevent Nadal clinching a third break point, netting a backhand. As you were.

    Neil Harman, the Times tennis correspondent, BBC Radio 5 live

    "I remember a game in the fifth set at the US Open final last year between Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic. Murray held to love in the fifth set for a 4-2 lead, and that was the moment I knew he was going to win. That service hold to love tells me Djokovic is going to win this match."

    Listen to full commentary from the BBC Radio 5 live team on our website. (UK users only.)

    *Djokovic 4-6 6-3 1-6 7-6 (7-3) 4-3 Nadal

    The ball flying through the air like a cannonball such is the ferocity of Nadal's strikes. The Spaniard, eyes are glistening with determination, holds with another wallop of a forehand.

    Djokovic 4-6 6-3 1-6 7-6 (7-3) 4-2 Nadal*

    All Djokovic has to do is hold serve three times and a place in the French Open final will be his. However, he has to achieve such a feat against the greatest player to have trotted onto the red dirt. A nerveless hold to love from Djokovic, quickly turning the attention back on his opponent.


    Alex Tres: Can't understand the seeding for this. No disrespect to Federer or the other players, but these two should have met in the final.

    James Stevenson: Djokovic sure is taking it to Nadal now. It's strange seeing him starting to come out on top in the long rallies now.

    Default Girl: Based on Nole's resurgence it would seem that Nole is to Rafa what Rafa is to Federer - kryptonite! Sigh.

    *Djokovic 4-6 6-3 1-6 7-6 (7-3) 3-2 Nadal

    For a brief moment, tiredness creeps into Nadal's game and a double fault allows Djokovic to level at 30-30. The Spaniard's blood is soon pumping, though, and he's clenching his fist and yelling "vamos" when a forehand winner tickles the paint, taking him to within a point of the game. But only a fool would think Djokovic would throw in the towel. Only a fool! Deuce. Advantage. Deuce. Advantage. And the teasing stops when Nadal produces a perfect backhand winner into the corner.

    Novak Djokovic
    Djokovic 4-6 6-3 1-6 7-6 (7-3) 3-1 Nadal*

    Both players currently orbiting some planet inhabited by tennis gods. Although, having typed that, Djokovic comes up with his second double fault of the match. What else can you do in such a situation other than shrug the shoulders. Indeed, it is what Djokovic does. Nadal only gets a tiny bit of graphite onto Djokovic's crackerjack of a serve down the middle and the Serb skips towards his chair, satisfied at adding another game to the scoreboard.


    Ben McGilloway: Novak Djokovic is not human!!

    Rishil Patel: We talk about the physicality and supreme fitness of Rafa and Novak but their sheer determination and concentration is incredible.

    Chris Miles: I'm not a huge fan of clay court tennis but this is awesome. Vamos!

    *Djokovic 4-6 6-3 1-6 7-6 (7-3) 2-1 Nadal

    The world number one still has enough energy to shuffle on the baseline as he prepares to face the Nadal bullets. Even at 40-30 the Spaniard always looks in control and finishes the game with a rasping serve.


    From Kam in London, via text on 81111: Any other player in the world would have succumbed to Nadal in the fourth, let alone the tie break, but not Djokovic! What a special player!!

    Djokovic 4-6 6-3 1-6 7-6 (7-3) 2-0 Nadal*

    Merciless. Boundless. Fierce. When Nadal secures a break point it seems only a matter of time before the match returns with serve. But the backhand comes to Djokovic's rescue and it's the backhand which does the damage once again, forcing Nadal on the defensive and allowing the Serb to wrap up the game.

    Neil Harman, the Times tennis correspondent, BBC Radio 5 live

    "This match depends so much on Djokovic. Nadal's level hasn't altered that much. Djokovic's has risen and fallen. But he came out with some stunning play in that tie-break. Now it's Nadal who wonders: 'What have I got to do to win?' That's unusual for him on clay."

    Listen to full commentary from the BBC Radio 5 live team on our website. (UK users only.)

    DJOKOVIC BREAKS SERVE- *Djokovic 4-6 6-3 1-6 7-6 (7-3) 1-0 Nadal

    The clock has been ticking for three hours and 28 minutes and it must tick on for a wee while longer thanks to Djokovic's endless supply of energy and willpower. Nadal facing a mirror image of himself. A forehand winner earns Djokovic three break points and it is a magical start for the Serb, a superb return has Nadal on his heels and the Spaniard can merely plonk a forehand into the tape.

    GAME AND FOURTH SET- Djokovic 4-6 6-3 1-6 7-6 (7-3) Nadal

    Djokovic nonchalantly collects the first two points, while Nadal takes the next with a beautiful forehand into an open court. Thunderous applause greets a Djokovic backhand volley for 3-1 lead in the Serb's favour and it's another point for the world number one thanks to a forehand winner into the corner. A puff of the cheeks from Djokovic. Nadal, though, reduces the arrears - 4-2 at the changeover.

    A number of folks on Chatrier are fanning themselves with whatever paraphernalia they have at their disposal. The heat, or is it perhaps the drama, causing them to flush. A picture-perfect overhead smash from Djokovic takes him to three set points and he only needs the one, a forehand into Nadal's toes and the Spaniard can't get the ball from underneath his feet.

    TIE-BREAK- Djokovic 4-6 6-3 1-6 6-6 Nadal*

    If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you etc... The Spaniard produces a momentum changing forehand when he most needs it, levelling at 15-15 with an inside-out forehand winner. More of the same takes the Spaniard to within two points, a wry smile from Djokovic, The Serb seems on the ropes - but he grabs a break point and a mesmerising forehand winner leaves spectators having to remove their jaws from their laps. Tie-break time. Talk of Nadal having all-but reached a 17th Grand Slam final have been greatly exaggerated.

    NADAL BREAKS SERVE- Djokovic 4-6 6-3 1-6 5-6 Nadal*
    Novak Djokovic

    Nadal is grunting and groaning which suggests he is about to hit full throttle and he does, with a backhand full of top spin and menace which makes Djokovic look as if he has cement in his trainers. The top seed can match the Spaniard for razzle-dazzle, a fearsome forehand winner taking him to within a point of the game. But the light flickers out of Djokovic's game and he raises his arms in despair after gifting Nadal a break point - and a careless forehand goes long to allow the Spaniard to serve for the match.

    *Djokovic 4-6 6-3 1-6 5-5 Nadal

    The cunning Nadal drags Djokovic towards the net and reaps the rewards when the Serb's drop shot fails to negotiate the barrier. Another trouble-free service game. Parity restored.

    Rafael Nadal
    Djokovic 4-6 6-3 1-6 5-4 Nadal*

    If Nadal progresses to Sunday's final he will be in with a shout of winning a 12th Grand Slam, surpassing the likes of Bjorn Borg and Rod Laver. An eighth Roland Garros final seemed a matter of routine when he broke the world number one, but Djokovic has retuned his serve and is back on song. A comfortable hold.

    Neil Harman, the Times tennis correspondent, BBC Radio 5 live

    "Djokovic is still there, still playing with pride. This is the one Grand Slam title he hasn't won - the one he wants more than any other. And he's hanging in there."

    Listen to full commentary from the BBC Radio 5 live team on our website. (UK users only.)

    DJOKOVIC BREAKS SERVE- *Djokovic 4-6 6-3 1-6 4-4 Nadal

    Send the plump lady back to the changing room, there's no need for her to start warbling just yet. Djokovic steps in to send a crunching backhand winner whistling past Nadal. Two break points. A fabulous return from Djokovic and the defending champion can do little but direct his response long. We're back on serve! We're back on serve! Oh, my giddy aunt.

    Russell Fuller, BBC Radio 5 live

    "The shanked forehand from Djokovic may just spell the end of his hopes in this semi-final. Nadal will be feeling a mightily happy man."

    Listen to full commentary from the BBC Radio 5 live team on our website. (UK users only.)

    NADAL BREAKS SERVE- Djokovic 4-6 6-3 1-6 3-4 Nadal*

    What's this I hear? The staccato sounds of cellos which means only one thing: There's danger ahead. A wild Djokovic forehand allows Nadal to collect two break points. Violins being to shriek, it's as if we're in a Hitchcock movie, and the stringed instruments are at deafening levels when a Djokovic forehand sails into orbit and fails to land in the court. A horror of a game from the Serb.

    *Djokovic 4-6 6-3 1-6 3-3 Nadal

    BBC Sport's Piers Newbery has written about the six greatest duels between Djokovic and Nadal. Should Djokovic manage to secure this fourth set then this match could perhaps be added to the list. Perhaps. A mammoth forehand winner from Nadal the highlight of another straightforward service game.


    From Thomas in Glasgow, via text on 81111: Never ever, ever, ever, ever, ever write Djokovic off. He is the tennis equivalent of Lazarus.


    Danai Mashego: Happy to read that an umpire has finally punished Rafa for his ridiculous time wasting antics. About time too.

    Femi Longe: I'm afraid it's curtains to Federer on the evidence of what these two are doing to themselves. He can't live with them.

    Osman Bodur: Djokovic will take the fourth after a tiebreaker. Rafa will take the fifth though.

    Djokovic 4-6 6-3 1-6 3-2 Nadal*

    Crisp serving from Djokovic, add a stylish backhand drop shot which forces Nadal to scamper in vain, and you've got a hold to love. If you ask me, the fourth set is progressing a little too smoothly for both players.

    Neil Harman, the Times tennis correspondent, BBC Radio 5 live

    "What must be despairing for Djokovic is that he's ebbed and flowed, while Nadal has stayed at the same level. This match depends on what Djokovic does, because Nadal will stay at this level."

    Listen to full commentary from the BBC Radio 5 live team on our website. (UK users only.)

    *Djokovic 4-6 6-3 1-6 2-2 Nadal

    Djokovic was pumping his fists as he prepared to face the Nadal serves, but despite his renewed enthusiasm he can do little to prevent the Spaniard from drawing level, a couple of wayward backhands presenting Nadal with easy points.

    Djokovic 4-6 6-3 1-6 2-1 Nadal*

    The crowd can't help but rise to their feet in appreciation of a wonderful passage of play which had the spectators oh la la-ing as if they were watching a circus act. A succession of deft volleys from both players tickle the tape but somehow bounce in play before the world number one concludes a delightful point with a drop shot. He returns to the service line smiling and who can blame him because the top seed seems to have rediscovered his mojo.

    *Djokovic 4-6 6-3 1-6 1-1 Nadal
    Rafael Nadal

    Anything you can do, says Nadal, or something like that. Djokovic plonks a return long to allow the Spaniard to hold to love. Nadal asks for a towel and quickly wipes his sweaty visage. No time to waste. Let's get on with it.

    Neil Harman, the Times tennis correspondent, BBC Radio 5 live

    "When the set started, I thought it was going to be one of the best I'd ever seen. As it turned out, it was one of the worst. Djokovic looked spent.

    "When was the last time Novak Djokovic won only 12 points in a set?"

    Listen to full commentary from the BBC Radio 5 live team on our website. (UK users only.)

    Djokovic 4-6 6-3 1-6 1-0 Nadal*

    What a bizarre 37 minutes that third set was. Nadal, faced scrunched like a walnut, isn't happy after being penalised for slow play. Djokovic, who seemed uncomfortable throughout the last set, cuts a more contented figure at the start of the fourth, holding to love.

    GAME AND THIRD SET- Djokovic 4-6 6-3 1-6 Nadal*
    Novak Djokovic

    An overhead smash from Djokovic goes awry - triple set points to the defending champion, although the Spaniard is penalised for time wasting which means Djokovic has saved one point without having to lift his racquet. Double set points it is then and Djokovic goes wild and wide. Nadal shaking his head as he strides towards his seat.

    Djokovic 4-6 6-3 1-5 Nadal*

    The world number one moving around the court with the grace of an oil tanker. Nadal, the tugboat, full of energy and prepared to do the dirty work from the baseline. Djokovic, however, saves double break points with a forehand winner into the corner and secures his first game of the set when Nadal nets a backhand.


    From Hannah in Birmingham, via text on 81111: Hopefully Rafa can keep this momentum going in the third set and close it out for a 2-1 lead. Heart says Rafa will win it in four, head Novak in five.

    Alastair Eykyn, BBC Radio 5 live

    "I'm not sure what's going on here. This is very strange tennis after the heights of set two. The competition element has fallen apart because Djokovic isn't at the races."

    Listen to full commentary from the BBC Radio 5 live team on our website. (UK users only.)

    Neil Harman, the Times tennis correspondent, BBC Radio 5 live

    "I thought we were going to have a humdinger of a set, but Djokovic has gone downhill. Is he conserving energy? Is he drained of energy? I would never quit on Djokovic, because he's such a great competitor, but he's looking vacant at the moment - a bit like me when I'm trying to write an intro for a piece."

    Listen to full commentary from the BBC Radio 5 live team on our website. (UK users only.)

    *Djokovic 4-6 6-3 0-5 Nadal

    Is Djokovic suffering after rolling on his ankle earlier in the match? It seems so, and the Serb is eager to end this set as quickly as possible, sending a backhand bouncing long to gift Nadal a hold to love.

    NADAL BREAKS SERVE- Djokovic 4-6 6-3 0-4 Nadal*

    Djokovic left the arena after the third game for what was probably a bathroom break. Whatever he did he did it quickly as he is now back in the middle, bombarding Nadal with serves, although the defending champion is comfortably dealing with whatever comes his way. A double break point for the Spaniard as he gobbles up a flimsy Djokovic drop shot and the Serb waves the white flag by netting a backhand.

    Alastair Eykyn, BBC Radio 5 live

    "Djokovic is handing points on a plate to Rafa Nadal at the moment. That was an authoritative, commanding service game from Nadal."

    Listen to full commentary from the BBC Radio 5 live team on our website. (UK users only.)

    *Djokovic 4-6 6-3 0-3 Nadal

    And that's that, before I can add a full stop to the end of this sentence Nadal conjures his fourth ace of the match, holding to love for a significant advantage.


    Stephanie Siu: We all knew this would be a meaty match. The man-grunts prove it.

    Luke Thomas: Novak vs Rafa is all about the backhand. Novak's is stronger. In the second set, Novak's backhand started to hit the mark.

    Patrick Goulbourn: Nadal and Djokovic are perfect foils for each other. Magical tennis. Surely now this rivalry eclipses Nadal and Federer?

    NADAL BREAKS SERVE- Djokovic 4-6 6-3 0-2 Nadal*

    Nadal teases Djokovic with a couple of forehands and, with his prey in sight, scoots to the net and unleashes a backhand winner for break point. A baseline duel ensues and groans from a section of Chatrier because the Serb's backhand has sailed into the wrong side of the tape. The umpire leaves his seat to check the clay but confirms the backhand was indeed wide. Djokovic questions the decision - but then apologetically raises his arms to the hissing crowd.

    *Djokovic 4-6 6-3 0-1 Nadal
    Rafael Nadal

    The hosepipes were brought out after the second set to sprinkle some of the wet stuff on the red dirt. Everyone and everything is thirsty as the giant orb shines its rays on the French capital. The third set starts like the opening of a Batman comic - Kerboom! Kerpow! - as the pair trade barbaric blows from the baseline. Nadal, bellowing as if he's in pain, seems to levitate as he throws down a forehand winner to move to within a point of the game. Djokovic, though, drags the third seed to deuce - but the Spaniard prevents the Serb from winning five successive games. Time to wipe perspiring brows with a towel.


    Will Dutson: Why does everyone think Novak vs Rafa is basically the final? The two others in the draw haven't dropped a set yet.

    Brandon Knight: Djokovic has an amazing ability to come back when he is seemingly out of it! He's unbeatable at times.

    Benjamin Watts: The Djoker is mental toughness personified.

    Russell Fuller, BBC Radio 5 live

    "Nadal has been second best over the last four games of the second set. What a turnaround from the world number one, Novak Djokovic. That was some performance to get back from a very perilous position."

    Listen to full commentary from the BBC Radio 5 live team on our website. (UK users only.)

    GAME AND SECOND SET- Djokovic 4-6 6-3 Nadal*

    A Nadal backhand whistles beyond Djokovic, which suggests the Spaniard isn't prepared to let this set slip with a whimper. Unfortunately for the Spaniard, the man at the opposite end of the court is relentlessly launching brutal stuff from the baseline - a forehand winner eases him to within a point of the set and another violent forehand leaves Nadal floundering.

    Novak Djokovic
    Neil Harman, the Times tennis correspondent, BBC Radio 5 live

    "Djokovic showed how much it means to him with his celebration. And that's in the second set. Can you imagine what he'll be like if he does it in the fifth? Oh, my heavens."

    Listen to full commentary from the BBC Radio 5 live team on our website. (UK users only.)

    DJOKOVIC BREAKS SERVE- *Djokovic 4-6 5-3 Nadal

    Here's a fact for you: Of the seven men to possess a career Grand Slam, four of them completed the set at Roland Garros: Fred Perry (1935), Donald Budge (1938), Andre Agassi (1999) and Roger Federer (2009). Take note and store it in the memory bank as that is the kind of talk which could provide riveting conversation down the pub later this evening. At 30-30, the spectators sense trouble - but the Spaniard ends a 22-shot slug-fest with a deft volley. Hang on, break point Djokovic and the world number one is in the ascendancy - producing a forehand winner into an empty court. Wow.


    Jo Austen: Feels like Nadal and Djokovic are playing the final here.

    Steve Milne: Still think a good way to get into Nadal's head would be to kick his water bottles over when you change ends.

    Andy Walton: What do you call a tennis player who's lost his hoover? No-Vac Djokovic!

    Piers Newbery, BBC Sport at Roland Garros

    "'Come back in two hours for the fifth set,' says a Spanish journalist."

    Djokovic 4-6 4-3 Nadal*
    Rafael Nadal

    Oh la la. Djokovic, a man hoping to complete a career Grand Slam by winning the title at Roland Garros, brings an easy peasy service game to a conclusion with a booming ace out to the wings. The Serb has his nose in front.

    DJOKOVIC BREAKS SERVE- *Djokovic 4-6 3-3 Nadal

    What does a world number one do when he's down and out against the greatest player to have graced the red dirt of Chatrier? Place a forehand into the corner with such precision that his lunging opponent can only direct his return into the tape, and then secure a fabulous break point by striding towards the net to unleash a ferocious forehand which the defending champion tamely nets. Nadal, though, reins in his rival, saving two break points. But Djokovic has more in reserve. Oh yes. A volley from his shoelaces, as delicate as a gossamer, earns Djokovic a third break point and we only need to look at Serb clenching his fist to know that a Nadal forehand has dipped into the tramlines.

    Russell Fuller, BBC Radio 5 live

    "Djokovic is very angry - he's remonstrating with his corner - but he's only got himself to blame. The drop shot was not cute enough and Nadal's eyes lit up."

    Listen to full commentary from the BBC Radio 5 live team on our website. (UK users only.)

    NADAL BREAKS SERVE- Djokovic 4-6 2-3 Nadal*

    Two quick points from the Djokovic racquet and all seems hunky-dory - but we're soon at 30-30 when Djokovic, wildly swinging from the hips, puts too much oomph on a backhand. Another Djokovic backhand goes awry - break point Nadal - and the ruthless Spaniard pounces on the Serb's drop shot by flicking a winner down the line.

    Russell Fuller, BBC Radio 5 live

    "There's a feeling among the crowd that it's still very early days here. Everybody's hoping for a four or five-set match that could go on for four or five hours. But there is a danger here that Nadal will win this in straight sets if Djokovic doesn't start to find some answers soon."

    Listen to full commentary from the BBC Radio 5 live team on our website. (UK users only.)

    *Djokovic 4-6 2-2 Nadal

    Every Nadal forehand punctuated with a growl. The Spaniard remorseless as he wallops forehand after forehand in an attempt to beat Djokovic into a pulp, and he gets his way, holding to 15 when his opponent can merely net a return.

    Neil Harman, the Times tennis correspondent, BBC Radio 5 live

    "It's been a nervous start to the second set from both players. They both know how important this set is. Djokovic has to win it - I couldn't see him coming back from two sets down against Nadal."

    Listen to full commentary from the BBC Radio 5 live team on our website. (UK users only.)

    Djokovic 4-6 2-1 Nadal*

    The Chatrier crowd suddenly become animated, clapping in unison and shouting, because there's a glimmer of a break at 30-30. They should have saved their energy and voices for another time, though, as Nadal's groundstrokes lack accuracy - a backhand plonked long allowing Djokovic to notch another hold.

    *Djokovic 4-6 1-1 Nadal
    Novak Djokovic

    Djokovic, on the attack, approaches the tape and the presence of the 6ft 3in Serb seems to unsettle Nadal as his forehand, via the net cord, bounces wide. The world number one is attempting to add urgency to his game, which is perhaps why he greets a wayward backhand with a manic roar. Opportunity missed. Djokovic then pushes a forehand long and he can merely shake his head at having failed to truly test the Nadal serve.


    From Iain in Bristol, via text on 81111: Rafa to win in four sets. He's coming good at the right time. Will be a classic again no doubt.

    Russell Fuller, BBC Radio 5 live

    "When the forehand is fizzing, and he's playing flawless tennis, even the world number one would appear to have no answer to Rafa Nadal. Food for thought for supporters of Novak Djokovic."

    Listen to full commentary from the BBC Radio 5 live team on our website. (UK users only.)

    Djokovic 4-6 1-0 Nadal*

    Supernaturally good tennis from Nadal as a winning forehand on the run has the Chatrier ticket holders applauding in delight. Djokovic's backhand gifting easy points to his rival and, at 30-30, it is once again the Spaniard who is asking the questions. A Nadal backhand goes wide and the Spaniard lets Djokoivc off the hook by netting his return.

    Neil Harman, the Times tennis correspondent, BBC Radio 5 live

    "It was an unblemished set for Nadal. He's been hitting the ball so, so cleanly. That's why he's such an incredible player. You wouldn't think he was out of the game for so long. That may have added to his freshness. There's been nothing that Djokovic has been able to do to shake Nadal so far."

    Listen to full commentary from the BBC Radio 5 live team on our website. (UK users only.)

    GAME AND FIRST SET- *Djokovic 4-6 Nadal
    Rafael Nadal

    Kerpow! Nadal opens with an overhead smash. That's one for the snappers. "Ohh," whisper the crowd as Nadal, at full stretch, thumps a dipping, spinning forehand, back in Djokovic's direction and the stooping Serb can merely direct his backhand into the tape. The Spaniard quickly accumulates two set points and Nadal's serve is too hot for Djokovic to handle as the sport's best returner drags his response into the tramlines.

    Djokovic 4-5 Nadal*

    Straw hats de rigour in the French capital as the spectators protect their bonces from the midday sun. A comfortable service game for the world number one but Nadal, you sense, keeping his venom in reserve for a more crucial time. The Spaniard, then, to serve for the opening set...


    From Amreet in Leicester, via text on 81111: As described in his book, Nadal is like a diesel engine. Takes a bit of time to start up - but once he gets going, is unstoppable.

    Neil Harman, the Times tennis correspondent, BBC Radio 5 live

    "Two very good service games in a row from Nadal. He's moving with gusto, poise and confidence."

    Listen to full commentary from the BBC Radio 5 live team on our website. (UK users only.)

    *Djokovic 3-5 Nadal
    Novak Djokovic

    Here goes, strap yourselves in, Nadal has reached top gear. The Spaniard, varying play nicely, accumulating points from the baseline before concluding a hold to love by dashing towards the net to put away a deft volley.

    Neil Harman, the Times tennis correspondent, BBC Radio 5 live

    "We'll have to wait and see how much that semi-tumble causes concern for Djokovic. He is clearly trying to shorten the points. You don't often see him trying to serve and volley this early in a semi-final."

    Listen to full commentary from the BBC Radio 5 live team on our website. (UK users only.)

    NADAL BREAKS SERVE- Djokovic 3-4 Nadal*

    Djokovic prepares to serve, the sleeve of his t-shirt fluttering which suggests there's an ever so slight breeze on Chatrier. Nadal, at 30-30, overcooks a forehand to gift Djokovic a point, but the sharks are circling - cue Jaws music... a backhand into the tramlines earns Nadal his first break point of the match. Danger averted. But, hold on, a jaw-droppingly good backhand crosscourt return from the Spaniard notches a second break point. Danger averted. Third break point... and Nadal grabs it, a meek Djokovic forehand bouncing beyond the baseline.


    From Liv in Bristol, via text on 81111: Djokovic will pull through for definite. The match in Monte Carlo and the emotions of this week have given him courage and a major incentive. Nadal is looking nervous.


    Paul Thompson: We may be on serve so far but Djokovic is looking the more menacing. Nadal will have to play the match of his life to win this.

    Taylor McInroy: This looks to be a match of epic proportions. I'm rooting for Nadal.

    Gregory Taylor: Djokovic in four. I hope he wins. A player with his talent deserves to complete the Grand Slam.

    Alastair Eykyn, BBC Radio 5 live

    "Djokovic just clutching his hamstring/thigh at one point there. We'll have to keep an eye on that, although we've learned over the years with him not to read too much into each tweak."

    Listen to full commentary from the BBC Radio 5 live team on our website. (UK users only.)

    *Djokovic 3-3 Nadal

    Ladies and gentlemen, Rafael Nadal is a grooving and a movin'. The Spaniard opts to serve out wide, forcing Djokovic on the defensive, and clinches a comfortable hold to love when the Serb goes long.

    Djokovic 3-2 Nadal*

    The volume rises on Chatrier when Nadal collects two points on the Djokovic serve for 15-30, giving the defending champion hope for the first time on the Serb's serve. A ferocious Nadal forehand sends Djokovic scampering and, with the Serb off balance, the Spaniard follows up with a ruthless winner for deuce. Brutal hitting from both players from the baseline. A bloodthirsty Nadal smells blood - but a sublime backhand winner from Djokovic takes the world number one to advantage and the game ends quicker than expected when Nadal's backhand drifts into the tramlines.

    *Djokovic 2-2 Nadal

    Nadal, of course, is hoping to win the French Open for an eighth time and if he does so he will become the first man in history to win eight titles at the same Grand Slam. The Spaniard, scampering and scowling, attempting to outwit his opponent from the baseline but the man at the other side of the net seems as content to fetch and retrieve all day long. The third seed carelessly goes long once again to give Djokovic a sniff at 40-30 but he eventually wriggles free to restore parity.

    Alastair Eykyn, BBC Radio 5 live

    "It's been a fabulous start. We're in for the long haul, as ever with these two."

    Listen to full commentary from the BBC Radio 5 live team on our website. (UK users only.)

    Djokovic 2-1 Nadal*

    The Djokovic serve is running smoothly at the moment, while Nadal's returning lacks accuracy. The match, though, is in its infancy and not yet at a simmer.

    Times tennis correspondent Neil Harman

    Neil Harman"Considering he's an island man, and that this is his weather - he once said that 'Sun is energy' - you would have to say that these are Rafa Nadal's conditions."

    Listen to full commentary from the BBC Radio 5 live team on our website. (UK users only.)


    Declan Bruton: Only twice since 2000 has the top seed won the French Open - Guga in 01, Nadal in 11.

    Gary McDowell: You're crazy if you're writing off Djoko, he'll be up for this!

    Josh Jackman: Djokovic looks like he has a point to prove in that first service game. Fantastic, aggressive play from the Serb to hold to love.


    From Gav in Pontypridd, via text on 81111: Really can't choose a winner here! My heart says Novak but my head's shouting "Vamos Rafa!" I'm gonna go with my heart! Cmon Djoko!

    *Djokovic 1-1 Nadal

    Nadal embarks on his endless routine before serving: bounce, bounce, bounce, a tap of the shoes, readjustment of the shorts... it all adds to the tension. Djokovic, as you'd expect from the world's best, returning with gusto and, at 30-30, sows the seeds of doubt - but the defending champion responds with an ace out wide. A delightful backhand drop shot from the Serb drags the game to deuce... "OUT!" shouts a line judge as a Nadal forehand grazes the line. Could it be break point Djokovic? Nah, overruled. As you were. And a dipping Nadal backhand whistles beyond Djokovic, finishing what was an awkward hold.


    From Sara in Bristol, via text on 81111: So, so nervous... Really want Rafa to win, but feel it may be Djokovic who triumphs.

    Alastair Eykyn, BBC Radio 5 live

    "Anything short from Nadal, you can guarantee that Djokovic will step in and crunch it."

    Listen to full commentary from the BBC Radio 5 live team on our website. (UK users only.)

    Djokovic 1-0 Nadal*

    A cluster of spectators scream Nadal's name before Djokovic prepares to launch the first serve of the match. The umpire calls for hush and the spectators take heed. Three easy points for Djokovic eases him to 40-0 and a beautiful forehand winner into the corner ensures the opening game ends in the Serb's favour.

  155. 1212: 

    "Deux minutes," bellows the umpire to the players, informing them that there's only two minutes remaining of the warm-up. The spectators slowly shuffling towards their seats but they'd better hurry up.

    Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic
  156. 1210:  
    Piers Newbery, BBC Sport at Roland Garros

    "It's the hottest day of the tournament by some distance at around 27C, and the received wisdom here is that favours Nadal over Djokovic in the first semi-final as his forehand will fly off the clay even more than usual. Those backing Djokovic say the best backhand in the world is the perfect foil to Nadal's greatest weapon. As for the second semi-final, "Tsonga faces a wall," says L'Equipe. A bit harsh on Ferrer."


    Luke Thomas: It ought not do, as there are two other very fine semi-finalists, but Novak vs Rafa does feel like the final!

    Yello Jonathan: Nadal is the king of clay. He has to take this.

    Harry Redman: Got a feeling this could be straight sets to Rafa.

  158. 1208: 

    Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic were both bouncing, ensuring those limbs are loose and lithe, before they strode purposefully onto the court. Will the world number one or the seven-time champion reach the final? If anyone has the answer then feel free to send your musings either via Twitter using the hashtag #bbctennis or lob over a text on 81111. It would be a pleasure to hear from you.

  159. 1206:  
    BBC Radio 5 live

    If there weren't reasons enough to skip merrily through this scorching Friday, then adding an extra bounce to your step will be the 5 live crew at Roland Garros. They are primed to provide you with live (web only) commentary of the Djokovic versus Nadal humdinger.

  160. 1158: 

    Hello! Welcome to live text commentary of men's semi-final day at Roland Garros. I resisted the urge to add five or six exclamation marks at the end of that last sentence because I don't want anyone hyperventilating at this early stage, not with potentially two epic matches ahead of us. First we have world number one Novak Djokovic taking on the King of Clay, Rafael Nadal. Take a minute if you wish, perhaps one or two deep breaths to compose yourself, before reading that the second semi-final will involve David 'the wall' Ferrer and France's finest, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

  161. 1150: 

    The stars have aligned (or something like that) to create the perfect Friday. There's sunshine, there's a a waft of charcoal as barbecues are being prepared, and there's tennis, and not just your run-of-the-mill tennis but semi-final tennis, edge-of-the-your-seat tennis.

Share this story

French Open - 26 May to 9 June

Serena Williams Serves eased my nerves - Williams

New French Open champion Serena Williams admits she was struck with nerves as she neared her 16th Grand Slam title.

The BBC Sport app

BBC Sport app

BBC Sport brings you all the breaking news on its free smartphone app for users in the UK