Rafael Nadal. How can this be? He will play Federer on Friday in the French Open semi, and goes in as the narrow favourite. Yup. Against Federer.<br />
Things to remember: he is 18; he has never been to a slam quarter before, let alone semi; he has only won a handfull of events on the tour; he has never played 5 5-set matches in a row before.<br />
And yet – just watching the highlights of his last match, and he is hitting winners from anywhere on (or off) the court. His speed is frightening. He looks so comfortable on clay, and he is playing with what would look like arrogance if he wasn’t backing it up with the shots.<br />
So – will Nadal beat Roger? Hmm, hard to call. If he plays at his current level, yes. Any dip, and Federer will try to kill him fast. But it could be the match of the year, and possibly the only real test Federer gets in a slam for the rest of 2005.