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Page last updated at 14:10 GMT, Friday, 6 June 2008 15:10 UK

Djokovic v Nadal as it happened

French Open: Sunday 25 May to Sunday 8 June
BBCi, Radio 5 Live and the BBC Sport website.

French Open

Semi-final result:


4-6 2-6 6-7 (3-7)


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By Caroline Cheese

1507: So Rafa takes his French Open record to 27-0 and he's one away from four-in-a-row at Roland Garros. A brutal performance from the world's best on clay and it's going to take a miraculous performance to stop him. Brilliant stuff.

Djokovic 4-6 2-6 6-7 (3-7) Nadal
A ruthless Nadal quickly establishes a 3-0 lead and Nole's all out of inspiration. The Serb sticks a tired volley into the net to fall to 0-6 and though he avoids the whitewash with three ferocious winners, Nadal wins a fabulous rally with a smash to finish it.

Djokovic 4-6 2-6 6-6 Nadal
Djoko's little brother is on his feet punching the air as a deep backhand return forces Rafa into the error. Set point... saved with a wrong-footing forehand. After a couple of deuces, Rafa eventually forces the tiebreak - the first time he'll play a breaker in the tournament. You can't take your eyes off this encounter now...

Djokovic 4-6 2-6 6-5 Nadal
It's turning into the sort of thrilling encounter we were hoping for. Hold to love for Djoko - who is the man on top at the moment.

Djokovic 4-6 2-6 5-5 Nadal
Djoko raises his arms in celebration as the crowd rise to applaud a quite brilliant drop shot - which not even Rafa can get to. That's break point and Nadal dumps a backhand into the net. What's going on?

Djokovic 4-6 2-6 4-5 Nadal
Rafa has a simple put-away to make it double match point but nets the backhand. A rare slip from the champion and Nole makes Rafa serve for it.

Djokovic 4-6 2-6 3-5 Nadal
Nadal's in trouble again at 0-30 but his serve - a very underrated component of his game if you ask me - saves him. Three fabulous deliveries put him 40-30 ahead, prompting a pump of the fist from the Spaniard. One game away from his fourth straight final.

1430: "Even though Nadal is still on course to win in straight sets, it's far from a quick match - being going well over two hours now!"
MrInvisible on 606
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Djokovic 4-6 2-6 3-4 Nadal
Good on Nole for hanging in there. A hold to love for the world number three.

1428: "My wife is convinced I fancy Nadal, I only wish I had his physique!"
Rodders via text on 81111
Stranger and stranger...

Djokovic 4-6 2-6 2-4 Nadal
Agony. An inspired Djoko earns two break points to level the set. He has a decent chance on the second, with a short ball from Rafa, but clips the net with his backhand. He then sees a volley drop millimetres wide which would have given him another chance to break back. It's a gripping game, with Djoko throwing absolutely everything into it, but Nadal survives and that, I think, might be that.

1416: "Bjorn Borg - phwoar!"
Carolyn via text on 81111
Come on ladies, a bit of dignity please. Although he is a bit of dish... What? Did I say that out loud?

Djokovic 4-6 2-6 2-3 Nadal
A groan from the crowd - who are right behind the underdog now - as Nole smacks the net with a backhand into the net to give Rafa yet another break point. Djokovic comes through after a terrific struggle and seems to be back with us after that mental walkabout in the second set.

1411: "Re 1358: Rafa always looks hot. He's the pinnacle of masculinity, designed to make me feel forever inferior."
Pete via text on 81111
This has taken a strange turn...

Djokovic 4-6 2-6 1-3 Nadal
Well, well. Djokovic has his hands in the air in mock celebration as Nadal nets a forehand to give up one of the breaks. Is this the start of the fightback? I doubt it somehow...

Djokovic 4-6 2-6 0-3 Nadal
The writing seems to be on the wall when Djokovic slumps to 0-40 down but from nowhere comes a fightback. He makes it deuce after winning an epic rally - prompting a warm reception from the crowd. But Nadal's not interested in sentiment, ruthlessly wrapping up the double break. That will feel like a dagger in the heart for Nole.

1358: "I cant believe I'm stuck at work and missing another masterful performance from Rafa! Girls - is Rafa looking hot today?!"
Vicky via text on 81111

Djokovic 4-6 2-6 0-2 Nadal
It's desperation time for Djokovic, but an ambitious drop shot lands in the net and Nadal holds to love.

Djokovic 4-6 2-6 0-1 Nadal
The 'comfort break' hasn't helped Nole. He just doesn't know what to do anymore. Nadal rifles a forehand onto the baseline, prompting a smile from Mansour Bahrami in the crowd, and Nadal breaks early again - as he did in the first and second sets.


Djokovic 4-6 2-6 Nadal
Ah, there's Bjorn Borg, watching the man who might well nick his crown as the best clay-court player in history. It's Borg's 52nd birthday today - and may I say how very, very well he looks on it. Rafa holds to love - finishing the set by curling a fabulous forehand onto the line. Nole's off to the toilet - or maybe he's just off... I wouldn't blame him.

Djokovic 4-6 2-5 Nadal
Djoko flings caution to the wind - and it works. Some brutal serving earns him the love game. Only one way this set is going though.

Djokovic 4-6 1-5 Nadal
Djokovic looks like he's all but given up as he lamely wafts his racquet at a return and sees the ball fail to reach the net. He hardly manages to get the ball in play at all as Nadal holds to love.

Djokovic 4-6 1-4 Nadal
Nole is in complete control of the point as he hammers a forehand crosscourt and then charges into the net - but Rafa scurries across and bends a delicious forehand onto the Serb's toes. If I was Nole, I'd be waving the white flag right there. It's another break and you have to think this set is gone now.

Djokovic 4-6 1-3 Nadal
Hello... Nadal floats a slice backhand over the baseline and it's break point - Nole's first of the match. But Nadal produces one of those wide serves which rears up to shoulder height, making the return almost impossible. Heartbreaking for Djoko.

Djokovic 4-6 1-2 Nadal
Djokovic puts a forehand right onto the line to make it 40-0 - and that's how precise he has to be at the moment.

Djokovic 4-6 0-2 Nadal
Hold to love. Too easy.

Djokovic 4-6 0-1 Nadal
It seems we have some fairweather tennis fans with us today. So for your benefit, I will say this only once: Nole is Djokovic's nickname, the one all his mates call him. A brutal rally ends with the Serb flinging a forehand wide to give Nadal two break points. He's staring down the barrel already. Nadal is so good, it literally frightens me.


Djokovic 4-6 Nadal
Eventful game. Rafa mis-times a forehand to give Nole a glimmer of hope at 15-30. The Serb seems to have played the perfect point when he dinks a little half-volley just over the net but Rafa's there and sticks it cross-court. The Spaniard then gets a code violation for time-wasting before Djokovic also gets one for smacking a ball into the crowd. Nadal keeps his cool amid the madness to take the set. Mountain to climb for Djokovic now.

1308: "Re 1247: At least France has a player in the semis in the French Open and many more players in the top 100. Where are your Brits?"
Jo, Paris, via text on 81111
Look at the girls' doubles semi-finals, Jo. There's our Brit. Right there. Rule Britannia.

Djokovic 4-5 Nadal
A thrilling 18-shot rally ends with Rafa racing up to a drop shot but sending a simple forehand wide. Hold to 15 for Nole and Rafa will have to serve this out.

Djokovic 3-5 Nadal
Nole smacks his racquet into the clay after netting a forehand but then gets it right on the next shot - sending a fizzing return past a stranded Nadal to make it 30-30. Rafa frowns, walks to the other side of the baseline and produces a swinging serve down the middle. Danger averted.

1259: "Re 1209: As a 'veteran' tennis player myself, I would like to offer up that for an over-45 event one would qualify if one is 45 in that calendar year irrespective of when the event is held, ie Henri will be 45 on 4 July and so legitimately can play in over-45 events for whole of 2008. Just concerned that Henri is not unfairly tainted!"
Paul from London via text on 81111
A 'veteran' texter. Imagine that.

Djokovic 3-4 Nadal
Nadal keeps Djoko waiting to serve as he goes to change his racquet before marching about on the baseline in menacing fashion. Still, being a bit of a faffer himself, Djoko can't really complain - although he does allow himself a wry smile. A let-up from Rafa allows Djoko a love game. Relief for the Serb.

Djokovic 2-4 Nadal
Djokovic plays perhaps the worst volley of the tournament - wafting it well over the baseline. He then does what all self-respecting park players would do and blames the wind. Another easy one for Rafa.

1247: "Re 1214: Don't just print that I'm upset... tell the French they don't deserve a Grand Slam tournament. Tell them!"
Gareth, Cardiff, via text on 81111
Do your own dirty work, Gareth.

Djokovic 2-3 Nadal
Oh my goodness. Nole produces what looks like the perfect, deep backhand volley but Rafa scurries across and delivers an absolute peach of a lob. Even Nole's applauding. The Serb is in trouble at 15-30 and again when a double fault makes it deuce, but he eventually squeaks through.

Djokovic 1-3 Nadal
Can anyone deal with Rafa's backhand?! The Spaniard hammers one crosscourt to make it 30-30 and it's another comfortable hold. Djoko, breathing hard, looks a bit of a broken man even at this early stage.

1235: "Djoko is having to run like a crazy thing just to stay in the points. He needs to take a risk and swing at them, finish the rally earlier, one way or the other."
philosophicalarfster on 606
Took the words right out of my mouth, philosophicalarfster.

Djokovic 1-2 Nadal
Can anyone deal with Rafa's forehand on clay? Doesn't look like Nole's got the answer at the moment. Djokovic saves three break points but then a ferocious backhand earns Nadal another and Nole finally crumbles.

Djokovic 1-1 Nadal
This is an ominous start - even Nadal's mis-hit backhand clips the sideline. A love game in no time at all.

1224: "I'd be amazed if Nole wins a set."
chumbawumba2 on 606
Join the debate on 606

Djokovic 1-0 Nadal
If he didn't already, Djoker knows exactly what he's up against now. Nadal is already in a happy rhythm from the back of the court, while Djokovic is a little bit hit and miss. The Serb has to save a break point and do an awful lot of scurrying about before eventually holding serve.

1214: Gareth from Cardiff (via text on 81111) is most upset the stadium is half-empty - but it's par for the course at Roland Garros. And to be honest, if I had access to fresh French croissants every morning, I wouldn't be in a hurry to take my seat either. Anyway, off we go...

1210: "Deux minutes." Djokovic won the toss and will serve. These two have played 10 times already, with Rafa leading the series 7-3. But the last time they played, Djokovic at least stretched the clay king to three sets in the Hamburg semi-final.

1209: Meanwhile, over on 606, the big debate centres around why Henri Leconte is allowed to play in the over-45s when he's only 44. I spy a scandal.
Join the debate on 606

1205: Here come the players then, Rafa in his lime green vest and khaki shorts. Djoker is more soberly attired in white.

1200: It's a sad day for Cheesy. Today marks my French Open 2008 swansong before I turn my attentions to Euro two thousand and great. So this, in effect, is my final - but what a final. The best clay-court player in the world versus the best player in the world this year. Too exciting.

see also
Nadal to meet Djokovic in semis
03 Jun 08 |  Tennis

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