Djokovic thrashes Nadal to reach French Open semis

Wed Jun 3, 2015 1:24pm EDT
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By Julien Pretot

PARIS (Reuters) - Novak Djokovic handed nine-times champion Rafa Nadal his second defeat in 11 years at Roland Garros to reach the semi-finals of the French Open with a devastating and thoroughly one-sided 7-5 6-3 6-1 win on Wednesday.

The world number one from Serbia, looking to win the only grand slam missing from his collection, will take on either British third seed Andy Murray or Spain's David Ferrer, the seventh seed, for a place in Sunday's final.

Nadal's only previous defeat came in 2009 when the Mallorcan was knocked out in the fourth round by Swede Robin Soderling.

"He is still a champion," Djokovic, who celebrated calmly, told a courtside interviewer in French.

"The tactic was to be aggressive and focused on every point, but it is not easy to do when you play against Rafa here."

Nadal, who was only seeded sixth after a slow start to the season, said: "I'm going to come back next year and I am going to try to be competitive, to try to be better prepared than this year."

While the scoreline was crushing, the result was not the seismic shock that it was six years ago when the unthinkable happened and Nadal lost to Soderling.

Nadal had started Wednesday's match with a 70-1 win-loss record on the Paris clay and had also won his last four grand-slam matches against Djokovic, as well as their six encounters at the French Open.   Continued...

Novak Djokovic of Serbia returns the ball to Rafael Nadal of Spain during their men's quarter-final match during the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France, June 3, 2015.      REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier