By Ros Satar
(June 5, 2013) PARIS – After the ups and down in the two women’s quarterfinals, not to mention the excitement after Jo-Wilfried Tsonga’s dispatch of Roger Federer, there were high hopes that the remaining two men’s quarterfinals would match them.
For Novak Djokovic, the progression was rapid, as he put paid to the last of the 8 men in last 16 to use a single-handed backhand.
The first set lasted only half an hour, with two breaks in quick succession to take the first set 6-3 over Tommy Haas.
Haas put up more of a battle in the second set, despite getting hardly points off the Djokovic serve, and had actually built up a 4-2 lead in the tiebreak, before finally losing the second set 76(5).
Nerves finally seemed to get to the Serbian, who failed to convert a match point on Haas’ serve, and then getting broken himself as he was serving for the match at 5-4.
Haas brought things back on terms at 5-5, but was broken for Djokovic to take another spin at serving out for the match,
This time he took no chances, closing out his place in the semi-final in a time just short of two-and-a-quarter hours.
He will face, defending champion Rafael Nadal who crushed Stanislas Wawrinka in a little under two hours, for the loss of just six games – 6-2, 6-3, 6-1.
Wawrinka found himself broken right at the start of the match, much like one of his racquets, with his obvious frustration showing.
In the second set, Nadal took an early lead, but this time Wawrinka was able to find a chink in his armor, breaking to get things back on serve.
Nadal’s response was to win the next three games and with it a two-set lead.
Wawrinka was all but done, as Nadal quickly built up a 5-0 lead, relenting enough to let the Swiss get one game on the board, before holding to love to sweep into the semi-final clash with Novak Djokovic.
Prior to the event, Djokovic was reluctant to discuss the draw, and dismissed questions about it ahead of the semifinal.
He said: “It’s not the first time I’m playing him. We played over 30 times.
I’m sure that we know each other’s game really well.”
He continued: “As I said, we are in good form. This is the biggest matchup of our Roland Garros 2013 campaign for both me and him.”
Nadal has played himself into better form over the last three matches.
He said: “I’m happy the way that I played today especially. [It] was my best match on the tournament without any doubt.
“Now I am in semifinals, three matches in a row without losing a set. Last two matches I only lost one serve.”
Looking ahead to the semifinal, he echoed some of the guarded statements of Djokovic.
He said: “For me, it’s the semifinals, and doesn’t matter if it’s against Novak or against another player, because the player who not [going to] win the semifinals is not the champion of Roland Garros.
“He’s just the semifinalist. That’s the big difference.”