Nadal to face Djokovic in Paris semi-finals

FIRED-UP Novak Djokovic is relishing a semi-final battle with French Open king Rafael Nadal after both sailed to victories in straight sets yesterday.

The world No1 defeated veteran Tommy Haas, 6-3, 7-6, 7-5 on Court Suzanne Lenglen, while seven-time winner Nadal thrashed Swiss No2 Stanislas Wawrinka, 6-2, 6-3, 6-1, on Court Philippe Chartier.

Djokovic will hope to complete his Grand Slam set of trophies, while the Spaniard is looking to add an eighth Roland Garros title – a record for one man at a single Grand Slam.

“I look forward to the match,” said the 26-year-old Serb. “We have played over 30 times. I’m sure that we know each other’s games well.”

The holders of the longest Grand Slam final record in modern tennis have met 34 times, of which Djokovic has won 15.

The top seed met sturdy opposition from 35-year-old Haas in the second set, after winning the first with a single break, but snatched the tie-break nonetheless.

He then let two leads slip but broke for the third time to claim the final set 7-5 and reach the last four.

Nadal had a much easier day against Wawrinka, who was as inconsistent as the Paris sunshine, showing rays of hope amid clouds of unprovoked errors and poor serving.

The Spaniard claimed the first set easily and was only really challenged midway through the second, when Wawrinka broke but failed to capitalise.

Wawrinka, who has never claimed a set against Nadal, won only one game in the final set as he was left to hope for better future results.

“I know that I play against the best player of the world,” said Nadal of facing Djokovic tomorrow. “I’m just trying to play my way, to find my rhythm and to play my best match.”

In the women’s quarter-finals, former world No1 Maria Sharapova had to dig deep to cancel a 6-0 deficit to oust resilient Serbian Jelena Jankovic, 0-6, 6-4, 6-3.

She will meet third seed Victoria Azarenka, who dispatched Maria Kirilenko in straight sets, 7-6, 6-2.