Day 8 was the French Open Semi-Finals. Due to a ranking glitch, Nadal and Djokovic, arguably the two best players in the sport right now, were facing off. This is the match Shira and I were very much hoping we'd get to see, and it looked like it was actually going to happen.
Our train left Venice an hour or so late, which we feared may impact our day at the Open, but luckily it didn't. In fact, everything went super smooth and before we knew it, we were in the stands watching these two Tennis greats take the court.
The first set was fairly even with Rafa taking it. The second set Djokovic managed to take, though he was clearly losing steam. The third set was a blood bath, with Djokovic winning only a single game. It looked like this epic battle was going to be anything but, with Nadal sweeping the match. But in classic Djokovic style, he managed to fight off Nadal and take the match into 5 sets. Djokovic started the 5th set strongly pulling ahead, but by the end, he made a number of easy errors, and lost the match 9 games to 7.
I very much wanted my boy Djokovic to upset Nadal, which would have put him a huge step closer to winning the French for the first time. But, that wasn't in the cards. Still, the match was an awesome one. There's nothing like being in a stadium of 14,000, all collectively gasping as a player attempts to make a point, and erupting in applause when they do. The tension was so intense that I had to put down my camera and just focus on watching these two guys battle it out.
So not the outcome I wanted, but certainly the match I was hoping to see.
Other highlights of the day: watching ladies wheelchair tennis and watching a 45 and older doubles match. I didn't know the players, but Shira was clear that Mats Vilander was a tennis great. The former is a remarkable demonstration of skill and endurance, the latter was just plain fun.
With this big match behind us, we can now take a breath and enjoy our last couple days in Paris. And yes, we've got the Finals to watch, so we aren't quit done with le Tennis quite yet.