PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 07: Rafael Nadal of Spain plays a forehand during mens singles quarter finals match against Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain on day eleven of the 2017 French Open at Roland Garros on June 7, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

10 Things To Know at Roland Garros: Friday

Today’s Trivia Question: If Thiem beats Nadal today, he’ll be the fourth player with a one-handed backhand to beat Djokovic and Nadal at the same tournament. Who are the first three?

1. It’s Men’s Semifinals Day! The men’s semifinals both take Court Philippe Chatrier this afternoon, with Murray playing Wawrinka at 12:45pm and then Nadal taking on Thiem not before 3:30pm.

2. Three of the four semifinalists are in their 30s. It’s the third major in the Open Era where three of the four men’s semifinalists are in their 30s (after the 1968 French Open and 2017 Australian Open).

3. If Wawrinka wins today, Djokovic will drop to No.4. Nadal’s already guaranteed to pass Djokovic, which means Djokovic will drop out of the Top 2 for the first time since Indian Wells fortnight in 2011.

But if Wawrinka beats Murray in the first semifinal of the day, Wawrinka will move past Djokovic too, bumping the Serb out of the Top 3 - his first time out of the Top 3 since the week of October 12, 2009.

4. Murray’s lost seven of his last eight matches against Top 5 players at majors. Since winning his first Wimbledon title in July 2013, the only win came against Wawrinka right here a year ago.

5. Murray leads Wawrinka in their head-to-head, 10-7, but… Wawrinka has won three of their four clay court meetings (though Murray’s win over Wawrinka on clay came in the semis here last year).

6. Nadal leads Thiem in their head-to-head, 4-2, but… Thiem won their last meeting three weeks ago in the quarterfinals of Rome, which was Nadal’s only loss in 23 clay court matches this year.

7. Nadal’s never had a smoother path to a Grand Slam semifinal. He’s only lost 22 games, the fewest games he’s lost en route to a Grand Slam semifinal - his previous fewest was 25 here in 2008.

8. Thiem’s going for his third clay court win over Nadal. Only two players have ever beaten Nadal three times on clay - Djokovic (who’s done it seven times) and Gaudio (who did it three times).

9. There are A LOT of June 9th anniversaries. Some of them are Seles’ first Grand Slam title (June 9, 1990), Courier’s first Grand Slam title (June 9, 1991), the Capriati-Clijsters epic (June 9, 2001), Henin’s last French Open (June 9, 2007) and Sharapova completing her Career Slam (June 9, 2012).

10. Finals Weekend begins tomorrow! It’s Halep against Ostapenko for the women’s title - it’s the first first-time meeting in a major final since the 2012 French Open final (Sharapova against Errani).

Yesterday’s Trivia Answer: The last woman to win a Grand Slam title when Serena wasn’t No.1 was, of course, Serena herself at the 2017 Australian Open (she was ranked No.2).

Read more articles by John Berkok


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