Tennis Freaks

“1821: Nadal, I’ve noticed, has a problem with his shorts, in that they keep on getting stuck up his jacksie and he has to pull them out before every point. Not sure why he doesn’t just get a size up, he’s probably loaded.”

Federer v Davydenko as it happened

French Open Semi-final result:

R FEDERER (Swi) bt N DAVYDENKO (Rus)

7-5 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (9-7)

* denotes server

GAME-BY-GAME UPDATES:

By Piers Newbery

Third set

Federer 7-6 (9-7) Davydenko
Federer gets to the changeover at 4-2 but is pegged back to 5-5, at which point he produces an outrageous second-serve ace. Davydenko battles on and saves the match point before earning a set point of his own, but Federer comes up with two great serves. On the second match point Davydenko puts a backhand long and Federer is through to the final again – but he’ll need to sharpen up considerably for Nadal or Djokovic.

Federer 6-6 Davydenko
A love service game for the world number one suggests an ominous flash of form. Anybody fancy Davydenko for the tie-break?

“When it really matters I sense Davydenko doesn’t really believe he can win this, and who can blame him?”
BBC Sport analyst Sam Smith

Federer 5-6 Davydenko
Well done big Davy Denko – after the horrors of his previous service game a complete collapse would have been understandable but he serves out well to force at least a tie-break.

Federer 5-5 Davydenko
Three aces and one double-fault take Federer to 40-15 and he bullies Davydenko in the final point to level the score.

Federer 4-5 Davydenko
Yep, definitely seen this match before. Davydenko serves for the set and is tight as a drum, throwing in errors and wild double-faults with abandon. Federer earns five break points, missing by an inch on the second, Davydenko gets two set points – cue two wild forehands. Finally, Federer gets break point number six and the Russian duly wallops a backhand into the net. Not the highest quality you’ve ever seen but pretty gripping stuff.

Federer 3-5 Davydenko
Some heartwarming shots of the ball boys and ball girls and thankfully none of them are smoking – unusual for a group of French teenagers in my experience. Federer is in trouble at 0-30 but finds a wonderful backhand down the line on his way to saving the game.

Federer 2-5 Davydenko
Oh dear. I rarely see anything on a Grand Slam court that equates to my efforts at the local park but Davydenko lets a volley go and turns around to see it drop three feet inside the baseline. Unlike me, he is able to save two break points with a succession of world-class forehands.

Federer 2-4 Davydenko
Federer stays in touch with a love-service game. The stadium is all but full now, but very quiet.

Federer 1-4 Davydenko
A couple of break points slip away for Federer and he is clearly frustrated, giving a loud yelp in one of the many languages he speaks. It looks like it’s heading for a fourth set but you wouldn’t count Federer out yet.

Federer 1-3 Davydenko
The scoreline may suggest the usual straightforward afternoon for Federer so far but he’s making heavy weather of it. Davydenko wins a brilliant second point after retrieving a smash and goes on to break to love. Odd.

Federer 1-2 Davydenko
The first love-service game of the match goes to Davydenko on an almost silent Court Philippe Chatrier.

Federer 1-1 Davydenko
It’s lucky Davydenko doesn’t have the same temperament as fellow Russian Marat Safin or we’d have seen some serious racket abuse by now. Three break points go begging and Federer wraps up the game with a forehand winner.

Federer 0-1 Davydenko
I would think the odds for Davydenko coming back from two sets down against Federer are marginally longer than those for Don Johnson and Ilie Nastase announcing that they’re seeing each other, but the Russian gets off to a decent start in set three. And he’s changed to a vivid orange shirt, maybe trying to blend in with the court.

Second set

Federer 7-6 (7-5) Davydenko
After a cagey start that sees the first five points go with serve, Davydenko cracks first and an error leaves him 4-2 down at the changeover. Federer moves smoothly to 6-3 and three set points, and takes the third of them with a service winner.

Federer 6-6 Davydenko
Yes, he can. A good effort from Davydenko, who holds serve to 15, but you feel he has to win the tie-break or it’s goodnight.

Federer 6-5 Davydenko
It’s a hard one to call at the moment – Davydenko gets to break point with a drive volley but fearless Fed saves it with a backhand cross-court winner that goes a little closer to the line than he might have planned. The big man hangs on and, as in the first set, Davydenko must hold serve to force a tie-break. Can he manage it this time?

Federer 5-5 Davydenko
Finally we get a real stroke of Federer genius as he sweeps a backhand down the line for a clean winner. At 30-30 the pressure is back on Davydenko and in a lengthy rally he cracks first to give Federer a break-back point. The Russian snatches at a backhand and it’s Federer’s game – a disaster for the man from Volgograd.

Federer 4-5 Davydenko
It came from out of nowhere…. Davydenko gets his first break point of the second set when Federer nets a forehand and the Russian converts with a backhand winner.

Federer 4-4 Davydenko
Federer lets out an anguished cry when he sticks a routine forehand into the net and Davydenko completes a love game. Justine Henin is having a sneaky look from a corner of the stands – she doesn’t look too impressed at the moment.

“This set feels like it’s trickling away to an inevitable Federer break of serve.”
BBC Sport analyst Sam Smith

Federer 4-3 Davydenko
One blockbusting winner from Davydenko fails to derails Federer, who holds easily.

Federer 3-3 Davydenko
Davydenko holds serve confidently and it’s all gone a bit flat for the moment, although that’s no bad thing as it means Federer isn’t running away with it.

Federer 3-2 Davydenko
Federer gets his groove on – in terms of his serve at least – and holds to 15. Hello – Ilie Nastase has just turned up with a cheeky grin on his face and he’s headed straight for Don Johnson. Look out ladies.

Federer 2-2 Davydenko
We’re treated to a bit of old-skool bish-bosh net chicanery to start the game – delightful! Federer brings us right up to date on the second point as he whacks a forehand return for a winner, and a killer drop shot follows. He’s not in top gear yet but Federer is looking better and better and Davydenko does well to level.

Federer 2-1 Davydenko
Davydenko has a sniff of a break as he goes 0-30 up but he cannot convert the half-chance, going for too much with a forehand over the high part of the net. Federer comes through to hold.

Federer 1-1 Davydenko
If this match runs to the usual script, Federer will reel off nine of the next 10 games to put the result beyond doubt and then have a slight wobble at the end of the third set. A cracking forehand into the corner helps Federer to break point but Davydenko clings on.

Federer 1-0 Davydenko
Great news! Don Johnson is in the crowd, and for my money that outdoes Antonio Banderas from the other day. I wore espadrilles to a school disco in 1987 because of Don Johnson, and I wasn’t alone. Federer would have been about five years old so he’s unlikely to be put off by the sight of Sonny Crockett in the stands. The Swiss star holds serve comfortably.

“Davydenko threw everything at Federer in the first set and he ended up losing it – very demoralising for the Russian.”
Five Live’s Jonathan Overend

First set

“I’m going to call the gendarmes because that’s daylight robbery by Federer.”
BBC Sport analyst David Mercer

Federer 7-5 Davydenko
A net-cord drags a Davydenko backhand into the tramlines and he’s 15-30 down. The Russian then puts a backhand long and the Fed has two set points, having done very little to earn them. Davydenko obliges with another error and somehow Federer has won the set.

Federer 6-5 Davydenko
A sloppy Federer backhand takes the score to 30-30 and what feels like a key moment, at which point the world number one thumps an ace down the middle and goes on to hold.

Federer 5-5 Davydenko
Davydenko does well to get back on level terms as Federer looks threatening at 30-30.

Federer 5-4 Davydenko
Wallop. I’ve barely finished updating the previous game when Federer holds serve and suddenly it’s Davydenko under pressure.

Federer 4-4 Davydenko
I think I’ve seen this match before. Davydenko misses 10 of 11 break points and Federer immediately hits back by getting to 0-40 and converting his first of the match. Davydenko’s brother looks suitably miserable in the stands.

Federer 3-4 Davydenko
Things are looking serious for Federer at 0-40 but he serves his way out of trouble as though we were in the halcyon days of Pete Sampras. Davydenko misses another chance and he may live to regret these wasted opportunities. He’s made one of 11 break points – ouch.

Federer 2-4 Davydenko
It’s probably half full on Court Philippe Chatrier now. Davydenko’s wife Irina is in the stands – she doesn’t look like Jeremy Clarkson thankfully. Anyway, on court the Russian shows the first sign of a few nerves with two unforced errors taking him 15-30 down, but he responds with an ace and goes on to hold.

Federer 2-3 Davydenko
Davydenko is in top form now, winning a lengthy first rally with a deft backhand slice and following up with a return winner. It seems to wake Federer up and he hits back with a forehand winner and an ace, but he needs two deuces to hold serve.

Federer 1-3 Davydenko
The crowd are now streaming onto Court Philippe Chatrier, which is nice for them. Davydenko’s new coach, who looks a bit like Jeremy Clarkson at first glance, looks on as his man recovers from 0-30 to hold serve.

Federer 1-2 Davydenko
A beautiful Davydenko forehand down the line earns him another break point and he goes close to converting when Federer shanks a forehand just inside the line. Another chance comes but Federer holds off the Russian with a big forehand and a similar backhand. Hardly convincing stuff from the top seed so far though.

Federer 0-2 Davydenko
A very solid hold to 15 from Davydenko and Federer continues to struggle with his rhythm from the baseline. It would be nice to say you could cut the atmossphere with a knife, but you’d have to find it first.

Federer 0-1 Davydenko
Davydenko wins the toss and elects to receive, and it works. A rusty Federer makes numerous errors but Davydenko fails to convert four break points, before the Swiss puts another forehand wide on the fifth. Surprising, but not an unusual start for the world number one.

1205 BST: Federer and Davydenko enter the now traditionally empty arena, although those already in their seats manage a decent cheer for the world number one. You get the feeling Davydenko might get lynched if he pulls off a huge upset today.

1155 BST: We’re all set for the men’s semi-finals and let’s hope they’re better than yesterday’s women’s matches, which were a bit of a let-down. On the face of it today’s two matches should also be pretty one-sided, particularly the first.

Federer is… well, he’s just Federer. He wins a lot and he’s very, very good but prone to the odd lapse in concentration. Davydenko takes low-key to new levels but is a superb player and his movement and consistency from the baseline should make him a real contender today. However, he has a 0-8 record against the Fed so don’t put your house on an upset.

Story from BBC SPORT:

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