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Top four men's seeds ready for French SF action on Friday



Paris, France (Sports Network) - The top four seeds -- Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Andy Murray -- will all take to Court Chatrier for Friday's men's semifinals at the 2011 French Open.

The top four seeds reached the semifinals of a Grand Slam for only the 12th time in the Open Era (since 1968).

Nadal's bid for a record-tying sixth French Open championship is alive and well. The mighty Spaniard and Scottish Murray will be first up Friday afternoon in Paris.

The world No. 1 Nadal and Murray will meet for a 15th time, with the Spaniard holding a comfortable 10-4 lead in their all-time series. Nadal is 3-0 in their clay-court encounters, including a semifinal victory in Monte Carlo back in April. The two contemporaries have never squared off at Roland Garros. Nadal is 3-2 in their career Grand Slam battles.

Nadal beat Swede Robin Soderling in last year's French Open final and topped Soderling again in Wednesday's quarterfinal action here. The free-swinging Soderling handed Nadal his lone career French Open setback in a stunning fourth-round affair here two years ago.

The reigning U.S. Open, Wimbledon and French Open champion Nadal is an amazing 43-1 at the world's lone clay-court major.

Nadal, who will turn 25 here on Friday, is trying to match the legendary Bjorn Borg as the only six-time winner at Roland Garros. The nine-time major champion will appear in his 15th career Grand Slam semifinal (11-3) against the 2011 Aussie Open runner-up Murray and is a perfect 5-0 in his previous semis at Roland Garros.

The 24-year-old three-time Grand Slam runner-up Murray will appear in his sixth career Grand Slam semi (3-2) and his first-ever at Roland Garros. His previous-best showing in Paris was a quarterfinal one two years ago.

Murray is only the second British man to reach the French semis in the Open Era.

Friday's other marquee semifinal will pit a second-seeded Djokovic against the third-seeded former No. 1 Federer, who has yet to drop a set at this particular fortnight.

The 29-year-old Swiss Federer is 13-9 lifetime against the 24-year-old Serbian Djokovic, but the two stars, oddly enough, have never met at Roland Garros. Federer is 4-3 in their Grand Slam encounters, including a win in the final at the 2007 U.S. Open.

The Aussie Open champion and U.S. Open runner-up Djokovic needs to win the French Open in order to set a new men's record for consecutive wins to start a calendar year. He has won his first 41 matches of 2011 and needs one victory to match John McEnroe's 1984 mark of 42 straight wins to open the year.

Djokovic has actually won his last 43 matches overall dating back to last season.

Federer captured the French Open in 2009 to complete the career Grand Slam and was the runner-up to Nadal in Paris from 2006-08. The 16-time major champion, who played in a record 28th straight Grand Slam quarterfinal here on Tuesday, will appear in the French semis for the sixth time in seven years (4-1).

The 2011 French Open champ will collect $1.7 million, with the final being staged on Sunday.

06/02 13:15:56 ET