10 Facts About The Men’s French Open Semi-Finals - UBITENNIS
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10 Facts About The Men’s French Open Semi-Finals

Three seeded players and one underdog – Ubitennis looks at what is at stake for today’s semifinalists in the men’s draw.



Juan Martin del Potro (zimbio.com)

Friday at Roland Garros will see four players fight it out for a place in the men’s French Open final on Sunday. Rafael Nadal will lock horns with Juan Martin del Potro and Marco Cecchinato takes on Dominic Thiem. A series of records and milestones will be at stake for the quartet. Ranging from Nadal’s 450th clay court match to Cecchinato’s bid to end Italy’s 42-year wait for a men’s finalist at the tournament.


Here are 10 things you need to know about today’s matches at Roland Garros.

1. The head-to-head

Top seed Nadal leads Del Potro 9-5 in their head-to-head, but has only won one of their three most recent meetings. Last year at the US Open he battled back from a set down to defeat the Argentine in the semifinals of the tournament. A year prior, it was Del Potro’s turn to triumph as he claimed the final set tiebreaker 7-5 to secure a place in the Rio Olympics final. Despite their rivalry, this will be only the third time that will play each other on the clay. The most recent was at the 2011 Davis Cup where the Spaniard won in four sets.

Thiem’s encounter with Cecchinato will be their first tour-level clash. Although they have played each other twice before in lower level events. Back in 2013 the Austrian lost to his Italian rival in the final of a Futures tournament in Modena, Italy. A year later Thiem got his revenge by defeating Cecchinato in the second round of qualifying at the Doha Open. The clash will be Thiem’s 59th grand slam main draw match compared to Cecchinato’s ninth.

2. How do their Grand Slam records compare?

Out of the four remaining men, Nadal is the one with the outstanding grand slam record. Participating in his 53rd grand slam main draw, he is bidding to win his 17th major title. Something that has only ever been previously achieved on the men’s tour by his rival Roger Federer. At the French Open, he has won 84 out of 86 matches played.

Del Potro is the only other player in the quartet to win a major title at the 2009 US Open. Since then he has never reached another grand slam final as he spent months away from the tour due to a career-threatening wrist problem.

Thiem is set to play in his third consecutive French Open semi-final. Roland Garros is his strongest grand slam in term of wins with his record currently at 17-4. To put that into perspective, his second best is 11-4 at the US Open. This year’s tournament is his 18th consecutive appearance in a grand slam.

Underdog Cecchinato has stunned the men’s tour with a run to the last four. Prior to the start of the event, he had previously never won a grand slam match. Suffering four first round exits in the past.

3. Three players are targeting national milestones

Friday in Paris could be a historic occasion for some national tennis federations. 24-year-old Thiem is bidding to become only the second Austrian player – man or woman – to reach a major final. The first was Thomas Muster at Roland Garros in 1995. He is already the first player from his country to reach the last four of the tournament on three separate occasions (2016, 2017 and 2018).

Cecchinato could end Italy’s 42-year wait for a men’s finalist in Paris. Adriano Panatta was the last to triumph back in 1978. Should he continue his shock run, the 25-year-old will become only the fourth Italian man in history to reach a major final.

Del Potro could become the third Argentinian to reach multiple grand slam finals after Guillermo Vilas (8) and Gabriela Sabatini (3). He could also become the first player from his country to reach the final since Mariano Puerta in 2005. That was also the last time a non-European player featured in the men’s French Open final.

4. Another historic occasion for Nadal

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Friday will see the world No.1 play his 450th clay-court match on the tour. Becoming only the 11th player in the Open Era to do so. He currently had a win-loss record of 413-36 on the surface. In history only Muster (426), Manuel Orantes (453) and Vilas (631) have won more matches than Nadal on the clay.

5. Del Potro gunning for No.10

A win today would award Del Potro his 10th victory over a No.1 player. Only six men have managed to score 10 or more wins over a No.1 player – Boris Becker, Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Andre Agassi and Federer.

No.1 players who have lost to Del Potro
Federer – twice in 2009, 2012 and 2018
Nadal – 2009 and 2013
Djokovic – 2011, 2013 and 2016.
Note: Del Potro’s win over Federer at the 2009 US Open was the only time he defeated a No.1 player in a grand slam.

6. Thiem’s youth record

At the age of 24 years and 280 days, Thiem could become the youngest men’s finalist in Paris since Nadal back in 2010 at the age of 24 years and 3 days. He would also become the youngest grand slam finalist since Kei Nishikori at the 2014 US Open.

Michael Chang is the youngest player to win the title at the age of 17 back in 1989.

7. Cecchinato’s underdog milestones

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The relentless Italian has reached the biggest match of his career with wins over players such as Pablo Carreno Busta, David Goffin and Djokovic. Should he continue his surprise run, the Italian would achieve a trio of milestones. A win would make him the lowest ranked Roland Garros finalist since Andrei Medvedev in 1999, the first unseeded finalist since Puerta in 2005 and the fifth player in the Open Era to reach their first French Open final on their second appearance.

8. Nadal aims to match Federer

Win No.85 in Paris will elevate Nadal to his 11th French Open final. Should he do so, he would become only the second player in history to participate in the final of the same grand slam 11 times. The first was Federer at Wimbledon, who achieved the feat last year.

Nadal’s Roland Garros record
Champion – 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2017 (10)
Quarter-finalist – 2015
Fourth round – 2009
Third round – 2016 (withdrew from the tournament)

9. 20th time lucky for Del Potro?

Since his triumph in 2009, Del Potro has only reached the semifinals of a major three times (including this year’s tournament). The French Open is his 20th grand slam since his win in New York. Should he progress to the final, Del Potro would have a unique record. Becoming second on the all-time list for most attempts made before reaching a second grand slam final. Chang is first with 21 grand slam appearances between his first two major finals (1989 French Open and 1995 French Open).

10. Thiem’s chance to become a season leader

Known for his hectic schedule on the tour, the Austrian could become the first man on the ATP tour this year to win their 35th match. He is currently tied in joint first position with Alexander Zverev. Both Nadal and Del Potro are currently at 28 wins this year.

2018 tour-level match-wins (prior to the French Open semi-finals)
1= Dominic Thiem 34-8
Alexander Zverev 34-9
3=Juan Martin del Potro 28-6
Rafael Nadal 28-2
5. Fabio Fognini 25-13

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Roland Garros Daily Preview: The Women’s Semifinals



Iga Swiatek doing her best Hulk Hogan impression on Wednesday (twitter.com/rolandgarros)

Are we just one round away from World No.1 Iga Swiatek facing World No.2 Aryna Sabalenka in a humungous women’s final?


On Thursday in Paris, Swiatek and Sabalenka are both favorites to win their semifinals.  But Beatriz Haddad Maia and Karolina Muchova both provide challenging styles of play, and their chances should not be overlooked.

Also, the mixed doubles championship match will be staged, featuring an inspiring redemption story, and the 2019 US Open women’s singles champion.

Karolina Muchova vs. Aryna Sabalenka (2) – Not Before 3:00pm on Court Philippe-Chatrier

Sabalenka is 34-5 this season, and is vying for her sixth final of the year, and her 13th consecutive win at a Major.  After losing her first three Slam semifinals, all by the score of 6-4 in the third, she broke through this past January in Melbourne with a straight-set victory over Magda Linette.  Aryna has claimed all 10 sets she’s played this fortnight.

Muchova is 22-7 on the year, and is into the second Major semifinal of her career.  She first achieved this feat two years ago at the Australian Open, when she lost a three-set semifinal to Jennifer Brady.  Karolina has dropped one set to this stage, and notably upset another Roland Garros semifinalist, Maria Sakkari, in the first round.

They’ve only played once before, four years ago on a hard court in Zhuhai, with Sabalenka prevailing in a tight two-setter.  Muchova’s variety is often quite effective in disrupting her opponents.  But based on the confidence Aryna has been playing with, her huge game makes her the favorite to reach a second consecutive Major final.

Iga Swiatek (1) vs. Beatriz Haddad Maia (14) – Last on Court Philippe Chatrier

Swiatek is 33-6 in 2023, and is looking for her fifth final of the season.  She is 17-2 on clay this year, and 26-2 lifetime at Roland Garros.  And Iga has been completely dominant this fortnight, losing only 17 games across nine sets.  She holds a 3-1 record in Major semifinals.

This is entirely new territory for Haddad Maia.  Prior to this tournament, she was 0-7 in the second round of Slams.  But she’s now 22-11 this year, after winning four consecutive three-setters at this event, and upsetting Ons Jabeur on Wednesday.

Beatriz is actually 1-0 against Iga, having defeated her 7-5 in the third last summer in Toronto.  She utilizes her lefty-ness well, and was intelligently aggressive during pivotal times of her match against Jabeur.  But on this surface, and in a match of this magnitude, Swiatek is a considerable favorite to reach her third Roland Garros final.

Other Notable Matches on Thursday:

Miyu Kato and Tim Puetz vs. Bianca Andreescu and Michael Venus – Kato was defaulted from the women’s doubles draw after hitting a ball girl with a ball, but has owned that error and earned a lot of goodwill in the process.  This is a first Major final in any discipline for Kati and Puetz, while Venus won the men’s doubles title at this event six years ago, and Andreescu’s resume is well-documented.

Thursday’s full Order of Play is here.

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Ons Jabeur Admits Rushing Back From Injury After Roland Garros Exit

Ons Jabeur has admitted she rushed back from injury just to play Roland Garros as she exited the tournament in the quarter-finals.



Ons Jabeur (@rolandgarros - Twitter)

Ons Jabeur admitted to rushing back from injury during the clay court season after exiting Roland Garros.


The Tunisian is out of the second Grand Slam of the season after a three set defeat to Beatriz Haddad Maia.

Jabeur had control of the majority of the first two sets but a third set capitulation saw her clay court season end in disappointing fashion.

After the match Jabeur admitted it was disappointing to lose but is proud of her tournament in Paris, “We always want to do better, unless we win the title, you know,” Jabeur said in her post-match press conference.

“Yeah, I mean, I think it is a great tournament. I honestly wasn’t expecting to be in the quarterfinals. Especially this is kind of my first tournament after being injured.

“I think it was good. I was trying to push myself until the end, but I think pretty satisfied with the results. You always want to push for more, but I mean hopefully next time will be better, and no more quarterfinal here at the French Open.”

Despite the result Jabeur can be proud of her efforts as she looks to build on a positive week and a half in Paris ahead of the grass court season.

Jabeur also commented on her physical state after a gruelling tournament in Paris.

The Tunisian said nothing is hurting but admitted she wanted to rush back from her injury in order to be back for Roland Garros, “Yeah, thank God, there is nothing hurting. I didn’t have much time to prepare for especially clay season because it’s more physical than any other surface,” Jabeur admitted.

“I’m feeling okay. I think I rushed my way back on tour, but that’s because I wanted to be ready for the French Open. You know, like all the training and the physical training, maybe I didn’t have enough time to prepare for that, but I did my maximum. I did what I could do in a short time period.

“But, yeah, she probably played longer than me, but she’s a beast, and I wish her all the best. I mean, honestly, what she’s doing for — I feel like my story and her story are a little bit similar. I’m very happy for her and for Brazil, and hopefully she can do much more for her country.

“But, yeah, for me now I’m going to try to rest a little bit and be ready, but I’m good for now.”

Jabeur will look to be physically fit ready for the grass court season where she looks to defend her performance from last year where she reached the final.

The Tunisian outlined her grass court season towards the end of the press conference and admitted she’s hoping to play doubles with Venus Williams having played with Serena Williams last year, “Yeah, for now I think I’m going to have the same schedule. Berlin, Eastbourne,” Jabeur said.

“Maybe Venus wants to play doubles there. I’m not sure. She didn’t ask me yet. Then Wimbledon. Just trying to play as much matches as I can. To be honest with you, I want to enjoy playing on grass because I do enjoy a lot. I have my brother’s wedding before, so I’m going to party for a bit and just be ready.

“I’m hoping to go and get the title really in Wimbledon. I’m dreaming about it. It’s something that I always wanted. Last year was unfortunate because I was very close. When I put something in my mind, I know I can do it, so it’s definitely here.”

Jabeur will look to achieve her dream when Wimbledon takes place on the 3rd of July.

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Iga Swiatek Downs Gauff To Set Haddad Maia Semi-Final At Roland Garros

Iga Swiatek reaches her third Roland Garros semi-final with a straight sets win over Coco Gauff.



Iga Swiatek (@WeAreTennis - Twitter)

World number one Iga Swiatek is into the semi-finals at Roland Garros for a third time after defeating Coco Gauff 6-4 6-2.


The Pole extended her head-to-head over the American to 7-0 and 14-0 in sets as her title defence will continue into the final four.

It was a valiant effort by the American but ultimately fell short of reaching the semi-finals for a second consecutive year.

Next for Swiatek is Brazilian Beatriz Haddad Maia, who defeated Ons Jabeur in the quarter-finals.

It was a positive start from Gauff as she played aggressive, smart tennis from the beginning to test Swiatek from the baseline.

However the Pole edged to a couple of service holds and would break to love in the fourth game to take a 3-1 lead as her returning quality showed.

Gauff provided an immediate response in the next game to break back as she tested Swiatek’s rally tolerance and tested the Pole’s defensive rustiness.

The American was holding onto her service games despite producing below 40% of her first serves.

Swiatek continued to find big points in pressure moments as Gauff was producing some big shots on pressure points.

In the end the Pole’s returning presence and quality showed as she broke for the set with Gauff producing a number of errors.

There was a slight moment of hope for the American at the start of the second set as she overcame the poor end to the first set with some effective point construction.

Last year’s finalist set up three break points but made some fairly erratic errors as any hopes of a comeback were snuffed out.

Swiatek remained aggressive, proactive and produced world-class depth to take advantage of Gauff’s error-prone game.

The Pole’s level of play intensified and improved as she sealed too late breaks of serve in impressive fashion as she claimed victory in 90 minutes.

Speaking after the match Swiatek said the match wasn’t easy but was happy to get through, “For sure, it wasn’t easy – the first set, especially, was really tight and Coco was really using the conditions here,” Swiatek was quoted by the BBC as saying.

“I’m pretty happy I was able to work on it and win this match because quarter-finals are sometimes the toughest matches. Even though Coco is young, she is experienced so I’m pretty happy to be in the semi-final.

“We play many tournaments in the year where we have to play day after day but I’m pretty fresh because, as you saw in previous matches. I didn’t really spend too much time on court so I’m actually happy today was a tighter match.

“I will be ready no matter what and not having a day off was something that I knew since the beginning of the tournament so I am ready for this situation.”

Another tough loss for Gauff to take as Swiatek seals her place in the semi-finals in Paris for a third time.

Next for Swiatek will be Beatriz Haddad Maia tomorrow.

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