French Open: Rafael Nadal sets up dream semi-final clash against Novak Djokovic
Last Updated: 07/06/13 6:13pm
Rafael Nadal's bid to become the first man to win the same Grand Slam title eight times remains firmly on course after a straight sets win against Stanislas Wawrinka.
Wawrinka, so often in the shadow of compatriot Roger Federer, came into the contest having never taken a set against the Spaniard and he never looked like doing so on Court Philippe Chatrier.
The third seed, who turned 27 on Monday, came through 6-2 6-3 6-0 in an hour and 56 minutes and will next face world No 1 Novak Djokovic for a place in the final.
Nadal made a dream start by breaking Wawrinka on his first service game, as the Swiss player struggled to find any depth to his forehands and a wild backhand soon gifted the Mallorcan another break in the fifth game.
The world No 10 netted a straightforward backhand to gift Nadal a set-point before smashing his racket to the dirt in frustration.
And although the Spaniard failed to take his opportunity, he eventually did so on his own serve in the next game and in convincing fashion.
Nadal, who arrived in Paris with six titles from eight finals after returning from a seven-month knee injury lay-off, dropped just four points on serve in the opening set.
Seven-time champion Nadal tightened the screw in the third game of the second set as Wawrinka failed to keep up with the power and pace of Nadal's tortuous groundstrokes.
But Wawrinka did break back in the sixth game at the fourth attempt as he cleverly worked his forehands to the Spaniard's backhand side before sealing it.
There was no mental let-up from Nadal though, who ripped through the Swiss' serve to move 4-3 ahead before sealing the set.
Nadal produced a world class forehand crosscourt winner on the run to break the Wawrinka resistance in the second game of the third set before running away with the match and taking his Roland Garros career record to 57-1.
"I think today I played my best match of this year at the tournament. I was very happy with the conditions on a court that is so emotional for me," said Nadal who now boasts a 10-0 record against Wawrinka.
"Stan was a little bit tired after his incredible match against Richard (Gasquet) which I thought was the best match of the tournament so far."
Wawrinka was one of Sky Sports' picks for outsiders who could shake things up at the French Open.