Djokovic, Nadal to meet in blockbuster French semi

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic and seven-time champion Rafael Nadal will meet in a highly anticipated semifinal showdown Friday at the French Open.

On the warmest day of the fortnight thus far, last year's Roland Garros runner-up Djokovic handled 12th-seeded 35-year-old German Tommy Haas 6-3, 7-6 (7-5), 7-5 on Court Lenglen, while the third-seeded former No. 1 Nadal blew away helpless ninth-seeded Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka 6-2, 6-3, 6-1 on Court Chatrier in Wednesday's quarterfinal action on the famed red clay in Paris.

Friday's semis will pit Djokovic against Nadal and fourth-seeded David Ferrer versus sixth-seeded French favorite Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who will appear in his first-ever French Open final four. Most expect either Djokovic or Nadal to capture this major championship.

Djokovic smacked 11 aces and tallied five service breaks in handling Haas in 2 hours, 13 minutes and improved to 5-3 lifetime against the German veteran, including 2-1 at Grand Slam events. The oft-injured Haas was playing in his first-ever French Open quarter.

Meanwhile, Nadal improved to 10-0 lifetime against Wawrinka and has won all 22 of their sets played after steamrolling his Swiss counterpart in just under two hours with the help of seven breaks, compared to only one for the Swiss loser.

"I'm really happy with the way I played today -- it was my best match of the year," said Nadal, who's now 57-1 at the French Open. "Stan was probably tired after his match against Richard (Gasquet in the fourth round) and I feel sorry for him but I played at a very, very good level."

Nadal beat the Serbian slugger Djokovic in last year's French Open final to secure a third straight and men's-record seventh overall Roland Garros title. He is trying to become the first man to win eight titles at the same Grand Slam event.

The reigning Aussie Open champion Djokovic needs a French Open title to complete a career Grand Slam.

The 27-year-old Nadal is 19-15 lifetime against his 26-year-old great rival Djokovic, who beat the Spaniard in an ATP Masters final in Monte Carlo back in April. Nadal, however, is 6-3 in their Grand Slam meetings, including a perfect 4-0 mark at Roland Garros. Their previous 11 meetings all came in finals.

"I have a big fight in front of me and I'm ready for it," said Djokovic. "I know this is the biggest challenge for me at Roland Garros, no question about it. So of course I was satisfied today to win in three sets and not stay on the court too long. Regardless if I play Rafa or somebody else, it's the same mindset. But I need that intensity from the start."

Nadal has appeared in eight finals in as many tournaments in 2013, capturing six titles.

Ferrer will meet Tsonga for a fourth time, with the Spaniard leading their lifetime series 2-1. The Frenchman, however, won their lone Grand Slam meeting in the fourth round at Wimbledon in 2011.

The 31-year-old Ferrer will appear in his sixth career Grand Slam semifinal -- and second straight at the French -- still seeking his first win.

The former Australian Open runner-up Tsonga will appear in his fifth career Grand Slam semifinal (1-3) and is the first French men's French Open semifinalist since Gael Monfils in 2008. He's also trying to become the first French men's French Open finalist since Henri Leconte in 1988 and first champion since Yannick Noah in 1983.