Federer wins two break points on the Wawrinka serve. The first is saved with a fabulous serve down the middle, the second with a thunderous serve out wide followed by a killer forehand. Another excellent forehand, this one more finessed, gives Wawrinka game point, which he loses. And so fortune continues to fluctuate – Federer wins another break point, his 15th of the match (one converted) – before Wawrinka eventually holds. Absolutely compelling, this.
Nishikori has called on the trainer, who is poking the player’s right arm. Nishikori came back from a double break down in the deciding set against Laslo Djere in the last round, but this looks like a comeback too far.
Meanwhile Rafael Nadal’s stroll on Chatrier continues. He has sealed the second set, and leads Nishikori 6-1, 6-1.
Federer wins the third set on the tie break! At 3-6 Wawrinka holds a couple of service points to keep the battle going, but he then stands so far back to return a second serve that he makes his own life more complicated than it really ought to have been and ends up netting an underpowered backhand. Federer leads 7-6, 4-6, 7-6!
This Federer match is absolutely stonking entertainment. The first point of the tie-break includes an excellent backhand approach from Federer, a brilliant forehand passing shot from Wawrinka, and an absolutely impossible backhand volley winner from Federer.
It’ll take another tie-break to separate Federer and Wawrinka and decide the third set on Lenglen. On Chatrier, Nadal is 4-1 up in the second, serving and basically being completely awesome.
Wawrinka wins a break point and a chance to retake control of the third set. A drop shot brings Federer to the net, but the great man is perfectly happy to be there and puts away a lovely volley. He takes control of the next point, forcing Wawrinka to hoist up an underpowered defensive lob, but Fed mistimes his smash, which balloons wide! From there Federer turns to serve-volleying on his first serve, saves the break point and holds! As, on Chatrier, does Nadal, who leads 3-1 in the second set now.
Nadal has broken right back again, and leads 2-1 in a second set in which neither he nor Nishikori has held serve.
A couple of unexpected momentum-shifts later, Nishikori has broken back to level the second set against Nadal at 1-1, and Wawrinka has held serve, finishing the game with a phenomenal backhand down the line, to take the third set to 5-5!
Nadal wins the first set against Nishikori 6-1, and then breaks in the first game of the second set for good measure. Federer, meanwhile, has executed a stunning turnaround: a few moments ago he was a break down in the third set, now he’s just earned a second set point, with a beautifully-judged lob (Wawrinka’s decision to leave it was less well judged).
Federer earns his ninth break point against Wawrinka and this time, for the first time, he wins it! Or rather, Wawrinka surrenders it, with a limp, overhit forehand from midcourt. It’s 4-4 there, in the third set.
Wawrinka breaks to take a 4-3 lead in the third set against Federer, who is struggling at the moment! The same is not true of Nadal, who has taken control of the first set against Nishikori. The Spaniard has just broken a second time, and leads 5-1.
Here’s Kevin Mitchell on Jo Konta:
Johanna Konta’s Paris dream refuses to end, as she buried an in-form Sloane Stephens on the rebuilt clay of Court Philippe Chatrier, 6-1, 6-4 to become the first British semi-finalist here since Jo Durie in 1983.
It was a stunning performance, one of the best in her career, 71 minutes packed with searing serves, six aces among 25 winners, to leave the 2018 finalist clueless from start to finish.
“That was one of the best claycourt matches – ever,” was Chris Evert’s final judgment “I could not see this coming. But all credit to Jo Konta. I’m speechless. Not even giving her a glimpse … Jo Konta I take my hat off to you.”
Much more here:
Nishikori has lost his first service game and is 2-0 down to Nadal. The Spaniard has a 10-2 head-to-head advantage, with both defeats coming on hard courts.
Rafael Nadal is on court and has just started his match against Kei Nishikori. The Spaniard served first, and has won the first game to 15.
Wawrinka roars to a 40-0 lead but Federer doesn’t stop fighting and battles back to deuce. Stan drops a backhand on the line to earn another set point, which he greets with a roar and a fist-pump, and he takes it to level the match. It’s Wawrinka 6-7, 6-4 Federer!
Federer holds to love – after Wawrinka did likewise; in fact there have been 12 consecutive points won on serve – but Wawrinka is about to serve to level the quarter-final at a set apiece.
There is nobody in this draw who wouldn’t be brought to a state of absolute terror by watching that Konta performance. It might be hard to maintain that ludicrously high level, but if she can she’ll be hard to stop.
More chat from Konta: “It was a great performance, I thought. I was really pleased with the level I played, more than anything. Sloane is a reat player and I knew going into the match that it was going to be difficult. I’m just really pleased. The serve is definitely something I’m looking to utilise. I’m just happy I’m able to do that right now. I’m just so pleased with each match that I’m involved in, I’m really pleased with the work I’m doing with my team and overall just enjoying my tennis.”
“To play on this court, this is my first match on Chatrier, to be out here and play at the level I did against one of the best players in the world, I’m just really proud of myself,” says Konta. So she should be. That was a simply incredible performance, a near-irresistible display of power, aggression and accuracy.
On Chatrier, Wawrinka has broken in the second set, which he leads 3-1.
Johanna Konta is in the French Open semi-finals!
Second set: Konta* 6-1, 6-4 Stephens Konta starts the game with an ace, and continues it with a service winner. It’s her 18th consecutive point won on serve in this set, a ludicrous run she proceeds to break with a double fault. She’s not delayed for long, though: another unreturnable serve down the middle and she has two match points. Stephens thinks she’s saved the first when her forehand is called in, but Konta asks the umpire to check the mark, and she confirms it was wide! Konta is through in straight sets!
Second set: Konta 6-1, 5-4 Stephens* At 15-0 Konta forces Stephens into the net and has an easy passing opportunity, but with the whiff of a double-break victory in her nostrils she misses her chance, Stephens guesses the right way and puts the volley away. That’s the cushion she needs to win the game to 30, and Konta will now serve for the match.
Second set: Konta* 6-1, 5-3 Stephens The first point is a statement of intent from Konta, starting with a fantastic first serve down the T – which Stephens miraculously manages to return reasonably well – and won with a pinpoint forehand. It’s another hold to love, completed with a forehand drop shot from well behind the baseline, which gives Stephens absolutely no chance.
Second set: Konta 6-1, 4-3 Stephens* Stephens is famously fast around the court, but she has stopped chasing any but the weaker Konta shots, or those that head down the central third of the court. She still holds to 15, though, thanks to some fine serving and one wild backhand return. But having failed to win a single point against Konta’s serve in this set she must now break, and has only two more opportunities to do so.
Second set: Konta* 6-1, 4-2 Stephens Konta’s fourth service game of the second set, and Stephens still hasn’t won a point. Just phenomenal.
Second set: Konta 6-1, 3-2 Stephens* Konta’s second drop shot of the match is in no way as good as her first, and is dismissed by Stephens for a winner. That’s the first point of a straightforward hold, featuring two service winners and an absolutely vicious forehand. Meanwhile Federer has won the first set against Wawrinka, taking the tie-break 7-4.
Second set: Konta* 6-1, 3-1 Stephens The first drop shot of the match has Stephens sprinting netwards, and by the time she reaches the ball she’s practically in it, which is where the ball ends up. Konta ends the game with an ace, and is yet to drop a point on her serve in this second set.
Second set: Konta 6-1, 2-1 Stephens* The most fractional of dips by Konta, who hits a couple of shot very marginally long, and then a forehand return very wildly wide, giving Stephens a foothold in the set.
Second set: Konta* 6-1, 2-0 Stephens Stephens is starting to look broken in spirit. She chases down a deep, vicious forehand and sends back a defensive shot that lands in, but from there she doesn’t even try to prolong the rally, letting Konta hit the ball into an empty court while she trudges back to her mark for the next point. Konta holds to love, and is playing absurdly well.
Meanwhile on Lenglen, Wawrinka and Federer will settle the first set with a tie-break.
Second set: Konta 6-1, 1-0 Stephens* At 30-30 Konta bounces her way to victory, hitting a backhand of such wild loopiness that even after running right to the back of the court and leaping as high as she possibly can Stephens can’t get anything on it. The American saves the ensuing break point but swiftly concedes another; this time Konta approaches the net and Stephens hits a passing shot that whips across court but lands an inch wide! Konta leads by a set and a break!
First set: Konta* 6-1 Stephens Stephens pretty much surrenders this game, once Konta wins the first point with a second serve that bounces up into the American’s body and can’t be returned. A service winner and an ace later Konta has three set points: Stephens saves the first, drawing her opponent to the net before passing, then Konta miscues a forehand off the frame of her racket and long, but she wins the game, and the set, at the third attempt!
Meanwhile it’s still going with serve on Lenglen, Wawrinka currently leading 5-4. Federer, though, is winning his service games with ease, taking 92% of points on his first serve (to Wawrinka’s 83%) and 80% on second serve (33%). Wawrinka has saved four break points so far.
First set: Konta 5-1 Stephens* At 0-15 Stephens misses her first serve, and her second serve bounces invitingly to Konta’s backhand. She absolutely lashes it crosscourt for a winner, a shot of frightening aggression and accuracy. The next she wins with a backhand down the line, and that’s three break points. Stephens saves one, Konta saves the next for her with a wild forehand return, but a killer forehand takes the next point and Konta is up a double break!
First set: Konta* 4-1 Stephens Konta didn’t win a single rally in this game. When Stephens got the ball back in play, she won the point. However, she didn’t get many balls back in play. A couple of forehand winners put Stephens 0-30 up, but the next time Konta has to play a groundstroke it’s 40-30, and though the American wins that point to take it to deuce, two more service winners take the game.
First set: Konta 3-1 Stephens* Konta has shifted up into top gear now, and at this moment she is bettering Stephens. The third point is a fine example, the pair trading crosscourt forehands until Konta eventually nailed one too deep and too hard and Stephens couldn’t get it back. It’s soon 15-40, and though Stephens saves one break point with a phenomenal driven forehand, she surrenders the next with a backhand that drops long!
First set: Konta* 2-1 Stephens Konta holds to 15 and even the point she lost was emphatically bossed, although she ended it by hitting her forehand winner, with Stephens marooned on the other side of the court, six inches wide.
First set: Konta 1-1 Stephens* Both players have rapidly hit their straps, trading clean, powerful strokes from the baseline. Stephens has a considerably easier time holding her serve than Konta did, though, taking the game to 15 and ending it with a very fine deep, spinning serve that forced Konta too wide.
First set: Konta* 1-0 Stephens Konta overhits a forehand and then a first serve, Stephens pouncing to take a 0-30 lead with an excellent, deep forehand. Konta fights back to 30-30 only to concede a break point. She saves that, has a few game points of her own and finally holds a lengthy and very promising game. By the time it ends, Wawrinka is already 2-1 up on Lenglen, with serve.
The players are out and preparing for action. I’ll be concentrating initially on Konta v Stephens, but will keep a beady eye on action on Suzanne Lenglen.
Here’s Kevin Mitchell on Jo Konta and her latest coach, Dimitri Zavialoff. She and Sloane Stephens have played only twice, both this year, and Konta has won both matches. Most recently, she beat Stephens 6-7, 6-4, 6-1 in Rome last month.
We have only four matches of senior, singles tennis ahead of us today, but they’re good ’uns. First up, it’s Stan Wawrinka v Roger Federer on Suzanne Lenglen, with Federer holding a 22-3 head-to-head advantage over his compatriot. Wawrinka’s last victory over Federer was in the quarter-finals at Roland Garros in 2015, the year he won the title, and all three Wawrinka wins have come on clay, the other two in Monte Carlo in 2014 and 2009. Counting only games on clay, Federer’s head-to-head lead is only 4-3. Meanwhile, on Philippe Chatrier, it’s Johanna Konta v Sloane Stephens for a place in what would be the Briton’s third Grand Slam semi-final.
Order of play
Philippe Chatrier (from 1pm BST)
(7) Sloane Stephens v Johanna Konta (26)
(7) Kei Nishikori v Rafael Nadal (2)
Suzanne Lenglen (from 1pm BST)
(24) Stan Wawrinka v Roger Federer (3)
Marketa Vondrousova v Petra Martic (31)