The contest is a rematch of last year’s final, which Nadal won in straight sets to lift the trophy at Roland Garros for a record-extending 13th time. That victory also marked the Spaniard’s 20th Grand Slam triumph overall, drawing him level at the top of the men’s all-time list alongside rival Roger Federer.
World No 1 Djokovic, meanwhile, is bidding to hand Nadal just his third ever defeat on the Paris clay. The Serb, who himself overcame Nadal at Roland Garros in the quarter-finals in 2015, lifted the French Open trophy in 2016 and recently claimed his 18th major title at the Australian Open this January.
As such, this semi-final could have major ramifications in the race between the ‘Big Three’ to see who will retire with the most Slams to their name. That said, whoever emerges victorious here will have to face the winner of the day’s other semi-final, which sees sixth seed Alexander Zverev take on fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas.
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Neither of those men has won a Grand Slam before, though Zverev reached his first major final at last autumn’s US Open, while Tsitsipas is contesting his third straight semi-final at a Slam.
In the quarter-finals, Djokovic saw off Italy’s Matteo Berrettini in four sets in a late finish on Wednesday, after the crowd had left the arena due to a Covid-enforced curfew. Nadal, meanwhile, fought past a spirited Diego Schwartzman in four sets.
Here’s everything you need to know about the French Open semi-final between Nadal and Djokovic today.
When is it?
The match will start no earlier than 4.30pm BST.
The day’s other semi-final between Zverev and Tsitsipas will begin at 1.50pm BST at the earliest.
How can I watch it?
In the UK, coverage can be found on ITV 4. Eurosport will also air the match, with NBC showing it in the US.
Nadal – 7/18
Djokovic – 5/2
Djokovic looked incredibly fired up after battling past Berrettini in the last round, keen to avenge last year’s final defeat by Nadal. He knows he can beat the Spaniard here, even if he has won just one of eight meetings with him at the clay-court Grand Slam. That is better than most players can manage against Nadal at the French Open, with Robin Soderling – way back in 2009 – the only other man to defeat the world No 3 at the Paris major.
Still, Nadal is in fine form, as is always the case for the 20-time Slam champion when it comes to Roland Garros. It is hard to look past the defending champion here, but expect Djokovic to cause Nadal some trouble along the way.
Nadal to beat Djokovic in four sets.