Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal perform in oldest Grand Slam SF


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Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal perform in oldest Grand Slam SF

Facing each other for the 39th time and 14 years after the first Roland Garros semi-final clash in 2005, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer battled for the place in the final in Paris, with the Spaniard scoring a 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 in two hours and 25 minutes.

After playing for the title here at Roland Garros eight years ago, Roger and Rafa have played only three Grand Slam encounters, all of those at the Australian Open and the most recent one in that memorable final two years ago.

Nadal proved to be too good for Federer on the Parisian clay for the sixth time in as many clashes, moving forward in three sets and setting the title match against Dominic Thiem, chasing the 12th Grand Slam title. A lot has happened since that first Grand Slam encounter between the great rivals and they are still among the best player in the world at the age of 37 and 33 respectively.

This was the oldest Grand Slam semi-final in the Open era, moving ahead of Ken Rosewall and John Newcombe who fought for the place in the final at the US Open 1974, the only previous semi-final clash with the combined age at over 70!

Six of ten oldest semi-final matches occurred in the first decade of the Open era when the veterans were still the main force on the Tour and Ken Rosewall was fighting in five of those, with the sixth reserved for Rod Laver and Pancho Gonzales here at Roland Garros 51 years ago.

After 1977, we had to wait until 2015 to see another Major semi-final with such a high combined age, with Roger Federer and Stan Wawrinka chasing the place in the final in New York. In 2017, Federer was engaged in two more experienced semi-finals and there were Kevin Anderson and John Isner to reach the magic number of 65 years combined in that epic Wimbledon semi-final last year.

Still, Roger and Rafa have moved ahead of all of them with their performance in Paris in the previous two weeks, adding their names to the record books once again on the biggest tennis scene.