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Nadal and Djokovic to clash in exciting French Open quarterfinal

In what is expected to be a fraught battle at the French Open, hotshot and world No1, Novak Djokovic, will meet the more vulnerable but nine times champion Rafael Nadal.

Djokovic, who looked good in beating Richard Gasquet is set to start as favourite against Nadal at Roland Garros.

To make it to the quarterfinal Nadal overcame a blip when he dropped a set against unseeded American Jack Sock, who beat Grigor Dimitrov and Borna Coric, who was in his first fourth-round spot in a big tournament.

The illustrious pair Nadal and Djokovic – have not played each before a semifinal of a tournament since 2007 at the Italian Open in Rome. Spaniard Nadal will no doubt have in mind that should he win this French Open, he will become the first player to win 10 titles at any Grand Slam event.

“It is not the final, you know,” said Nadal, whose birthday it is on match day. “It’s a quarter-final. And, no, the winner of that match will not be the Roland Garros champion.

“They will be a semi-finalist of Roland Garros. That makes a big difference. Even if it’s a special match, it’s a quarter-final match.”

Djokovic has looked the most consistent through the Open, and is yet to drop a set. But the Serb is not considered favourite by all; Spaniard David Ferrer – in fairness close friend to Nadal – gives his fellow countryman the edge.

Paddy Power has Nadal an outright winner of the Open at 4/1, while they’ve placed Djokovic at 5/6.

Speaking ahead of his quarterfinal, Djokoviv said: “Of course it is a different approach mentally when you play Nadal in quarter-finals than any other player,”

“There is no doubt about that. I’m going to try to keep my routine the same and not give so much importance to the match.

“I know what I need to do to have a chance to win. That doesn’t mean that I will win. The future is unpredictable.”

Djokovic has won five titles this year and lost only twice (39-2), to Ivo Karlovic in a tune-up in the Australian Open and in a final in Dubai to Federer.

Writing off those two fairly frivolous losses, is the fact that Djokovic may well be playing better tennis than he was in 2011, when he entered the French Open without any losses of 36. He went
on to lose however to Federer in the semis.

The match odds from Paddy Power are Djokovic at 2/5 and Nadal at 15/8.


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