Roger Federer will meet Rafael Nadal for the 39th time on Friday after overcoming a rain delay to beat Stan Wawrinka 7-6 4-6 7-6 6-4 in the quater-final of the French Open.
Federer was beaten by Wawrinka the last time they met at the French Open four years ago but on this occasion, the 37-year-old made a better start and won the first set in a tiebreak.
However, Wawrinka hit back in the second set, breaking Federer for the first time and holding on to take it 6-4 as he saved several break points.
In the third set, Federer continued to give up break points which took the match into a tiebreak and Wawrinka put a backhand into the net to fall two sets to one down.
Early in the fourth set, the players were forced off due to thunderstorms in Paris but on the resumption Federer lifted his level to break Wawrinka’s serve and the 20-time Grand Slam champion then served out the match to reach his first Roland-Garros semi-final since 2012.
Federer will next meet his greatest rival, 11-time champion Rafael Nadal, for the first time since 2017 Shanghai.
They were set to battle in the semi-finals of this year’s BNP Paribas Open, but Nadal withdrew due to an injury. Their 39th will be their first on clay since 2013 Rome.