It is Federer against Nadal, a great rivalry reborn, in the semifinals of the French Open.

It is Federer against Nadal, a great rivalry reborn, in the semifinals of the French Open.
PARIS - After a false dawn in Indian Wells, California, three months ago, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are well and truly ready to renew their rivalry.

He is not as tense as Federer with Novak Djokovic, nor as prolific nor as routinely exhausting as Nadal is with Djokovic.

But Federer-Nadal, or Nadal-Federer, if you're respecting the 23-15 head-to-head limit of Nadal, has been the same. It has been a reflection of his contrasting styles, his devoted and often divided supporters and his unforgettable Wimbledon finals in 2007 and 2008.

They are friendly rivals, not bitter, as well as a trap or two throughout the seasons. In recent years, they have supported the foundations of others by playing exhibitions and making appearances; chatting about coffee about tourism policy and playing doubles together in the event of the Laver Cup team, the idea of ​​Federer. It's hard to imagine that the semifinal of the French Open on Friday, their first showdown since October 2017, will change the dynamics they have so little to prove.

Nadal already has 11 titles of the French Open: "An incredible achievement", said Severin L├╝thi, one of the coaches of Federer. Nadal is 5-0 against Federer at Roland Garros

Federer, the leader of the men's singles title at Grand Slam with 20, returned to tennis on clay this spring after a three-year break with a free-spirited game of genuine intent and travel to enjoy, the feeling that by loading only the titles are good enough

And yet, he did not return the clay at age 37 just to hear the roars that occurred on Tuesday at Suzanne Lenglen's court when he defeated Stan Wawrinka, 7-6 (4), 4-6, 7-6 ( 5), 6-4 It was a tense quarter-final full of bold decision-making and a heterogeneous mix of shots, as well as a storm delay of just over an hour.

Federer, like Nadal, is a gentleman, but also a true competitor, and no doubt will please him, and a little pride, in the end, beat Nadal at the French Open on the last chance he will have.

"If I played clay again, it must have been playing with Rafa," Federer said on Tuesday.

The odds and the reason are against Federer winning, even if he has defeated Nadal in his last five games, all in hard courts. The reverse with a Federer's hand has nothing to do with clay or dirt.

But even when Federer was training on clay in Switzerland in April, with the snow still on the mountaintops, he expressed optimism that his improved ability to backhand with his big-headed racket could help him play big clay matches.

"As with any player, there is always a possibility," said Federer. "Otherwise, nobody will be in the stadium to see, because everyone already knows the result beforehand."

Only two men have seized their opportunity at Roland Garros against Nadal: the now-retired Robin Soderling and Djokovic

"If you want to do or achieve something in the clay, inevitably at some point, you will go through Rafa, because he is so strong and will be there," said Federer. "I know that when I signed up for the clay, that would happen, if I had a different mentality to avoid it, then I should not have played clay."

Federer is not absolutely right that one must inevitably pass through Nadal to achieve in clay. Federer won his only title at the French Open in 2009, after Soderling was eliminated in the fourth round. Wawrinka won his only title at the French Open in 2015 after Djokovic defeated Nadal in the quarterfinals.

But Federer has captured that Nadal's shadow is long at any time of the day on clay, and although Nadal fought, by his standards, has a winning percentage of 91.75 in his career, he has now won 10 consecutive games, moving to a Kei Nishikori tired, 6-1, 6-1, 6-3, in his quarterfinals on Tuesday.

Federer vs. Wawrinka was the first match in Lenglen; Nadal and Nishikori were the seconds of the main court, Philippe Chatrier. Even so, Nadal ended his victory ahead of Federer.

Both Nadal and Federer have lost only one set so far, although it is worth mentioning that Djokovic, who will face Alexander Zverev in Wednesday's quarter-final, lost none.

"I really hope he plays aggressive, changing the rhythms on the net," Nadal said of Federer. "Because he is playing well, and he has played tennis to make that happen, I have to be solid, I have to hit him, I need to let him play from difficult positions, so from where he will have to go to the net or to play his aggressive game "