FRENCH OPEN

Nadal and Djokovic win to set showdown

First and third seed on collision course in an eagerly awaited semifinal set for Friday

Rafael Nadal shakes hand with Stanislas Wawrinka after their match.
Rafael Nadal shakes hand with Stanislas Wawrinka after their match. PATRICK KOVARIK (AFP)

Rafael Nadal continued his dominant form at the French Open on Wednesday, dispatching Stanislas Wawrinka for the loss of just six games to reach the semifinals in Paris for the eighth time.

Wawrinka has had a sterling clay-court season, winning the Estoril title and reaching the final of the Madrid Masters but, as occurred in the Spanish capital, the Swiss could find no way around Nadal, who extended his remarkable career record at calendar's second Grand Slam to 57-1. Despite flashes of brilliance from Wawrinka, his previous round five-set win over Richard Gasquet was always going to place him at a physical disadvantage against Nadal, who is now back to his menacing best after returning to action from injury earlier this year.

"I'm really happy with the way I played today – it was my best match of the year," said Nadal after his 6-2, 6-3, 6-1 win. "Stan was probably tired after his match against Richard and I feel sorry for him. But I played at a very, very good level."

Novak Djokovic also won in straight sets against Tommy Haas, although not as convincingly as Nadal. The world number one took the first set comfortably but was forced into a tie-break in the second and also pushed in the third before prevailing in a 6-3, 7-6, 7-5 victory. That set the scene for the match that Roland Garros has been waiting for: seven-time champion Nadal against career-slam seeker Djokovic. David Ferrer and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga complete Friday's semifinal schedule.

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