French Open: Roger Federer vs Rafael Nadal, it's yesterday once more

Roger Federer has never beaten long-time rival Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros in five meetings but the 20-time Grand Slam winner has won the last five matches against the 17-time major champion.

Rafael Nadal beat Roger Federer in the 2011 French Open final, which was the last meeting on clay between the two   -  Getty Images

Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer will face off for the 39th time when they reprise one of tennis' greatest-ever rivalries in the French Open semifinals on Friday.

It will be their first meeting since October 2017 at the Shanghai masters and Federer has won the last five encounters, although Nadal leads their overall head-to-head 23-15. The 33-year old Spaniard is also ahead 13-2 on clay.

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The pair have not played each other at Roland Garros since Nadal's victory in the 2011 final eight years ago, his fifth from five French Open matches against Federer.

 

2005 semifinals: Nadal bt Federer 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3

The then-19-year-old Nadal burst onto the Roland Garros scene with a stunning semifinal victory over top-seeded Federer, going on to lift the title with a final win over Argentina's Mariano Puerta.

Little did the Spaniard know then that he would go on to lift a record-breaking 11 French Open titles.

 

2006 final: Nadal bt Federer 1-6, 6-1, 6-4, 7-6 (7/4)

Nadal ended Federer's dream of becoming the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to hold all four Grand Slam titles at the same time, winning a thrilling final in four sets to confirm his clay-court dominance.

It was the start of a run of three consecutive Roland Garros finals to be played between the two.

 

2007 final: Nadal bt Federer 6-3, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4

Another Paris encounter, another four-set win for Nadal.

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Federer went into the tournament as the world number one again, with Nadal seeded second, but despite levelling the match in the second set, the youngster powered to a third straight French Open crown.

 

2008 final: Nadal bt Federer 6-1, 6-3, 6-0

A match that shocked the tennis world saw Nadal totally dismantle arguably the game's greatest-ever player on Court Philippe Chatrier.

Federer managed a paltry four games, which remains the heaviest defeat of his illustrious Grand Slam career, as Nadal became only the third player in the Open era to win the title without dropping a set.

 

2011 final: Nadal bt Federer 7-5, 7-6 (7/3), 5-7, 6-1

The closest of their five French Open clashes came eight years ago as Federer managed to keep Nadal honest for three sets.

By then, Federer at least had a French Open in his trophy cabinet after taking advantage of Nadal's shock loss to Robin Soderling in 2009, but despite his best efforts, could not find a second.