Belfast Telegraph

My Paris adventure may not be over yet: Federer

 

Battler: Roger Federer on his way to defeat yesterday
Battler: Roger Federer on his way to defeat yesterday

By Eleanor Crooks

Roger Federer refused to accept that he may have made his last appearance at the French Open.

The 37-year-old lost 6-3 6-4 6-2 to Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals in windswept Paris yesterday.

Asked if he would be back next year, Federer, who left the court to a chorus of 'Roger, Roger', added: "Just like with any other tournament, I don't know. We'll see what happens.

"I played really well and surprised myself how far I progressed.

"But I definitely enjoyed the clay-court season and the French Open, so that would help the chances, I guess. It's not like it's been a shocker."

Federer, playing his first clay season in two years, produced exceptional tennis that would have defeated anyone else - sadly for him he was up against the greatest on this surface.

There were a handful of occasions when the Swiss legend, seeking his 21st major, threatened to improve upon his 2-13 record against Nadal on clay.

After going a break down, Federer's wand-like backhand and pressure on the Nadal serve saw him break back.

However, the Spaniard responded once more in a thrilling sixth game in which he finally wore down his resilient opponent.

Nadal was again on the back foot at the start of the second set as his error, following a brilliant forehand from Federer, saw him down 2-0.

Key to the King of Clay's win was his ability to respond immediately.

He broke back with a stunning forehand winner and set himself up for another break in the ninth game after coming out on top following a lengthy rally.

By this stage Federer appeared a beaten man.

Both players not only had to contend with each other's brilliance but also the mini dust-storms created by the intense gusts, however 33-year-old Nadal dealt with the situation better.

After he broke again in the third game of the third set, the match was all but over.

It was finally settled in the eighth game when Federer went long following another impressive first serve from Nadal.

Meanwhile, Britain's Gordon Reid came from a set down to reach his second French Open wheelchair singles final with victory against top seed Shingo Kunieda.

The former Australian Open and Wimbledon champion, 27, beat his Japanese opponent 2-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-2.

Reid will play second seed Gustavo Fernandez, who beat Briton Alfie Hewett, in today's final.

"It was tough, but I used the wind to my advantage and it became a weapon for me rather than a hindrance," Reid said.

Hewett, 21, lifted the title in 2017 but lost 6-1 6-2 to Argentine Fernandez in this year's semi.

All four players were on the same court for the doubles semi-final later yesterday, with Fernandez and Kunieda defeating the British second seeds 6-2 7-5.

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