Every time Rafael Nadal steps onto the clay, he expects to win. And win is what he did in his semifinal showdown against Novak Djokovic earlier today at the French Open.
It took Rafa five tough sets to down Djokovic despite jumping out to a good start, but the seven-time French Open champ took care of business when he needed to. After taking two of the first three sets fairly easily, Nadal was two points away from closing out the match in the fourth, before dropped the set in a tiebreak. In the fifth, the King of Clay needed a come-from-behind effort to beat the No. 1 ranked Djokovic 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 6-7 (3), 9-7.
As he’s done throughout the course of the tournament (and really, for the past couple of years for that matter), Nadal took to the court in a pair of Nike Air Max Courtballistec 4.3 sneakers. Despite the arrival of other Nike tennis sneakers on the market, Rafa has stuck with what has worked for him in the past. If he does pull out his record eighth Roland Garros title this weekend, it will be the first time he’s won the tournament twice in the same shoe.
Up next, Nadal awaits the winner of the other semifinal match between David Ferrer and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.