Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have been the dominant figures at Majors in the past two decades. They have won 62 titles and set records that will never get broken. When some of them reach a Major semi-final, it’s usually a done deal, as the other players can not match their level in the closing stages of the most significant tournaments.
Roger, Novak or Rafa have been alone in a Major semi-final without the fellow ‘Big 3’ members 32 times in the past and claimed 25 titles. The most recent one came a few weeks ago at Roland Garros when Nadal lifted the 14th title.
Rafa won all seven Major titles when he was the only ‘Big 3’ player left in the semis, never missing a chance to go all the way. In 2010, Nadal was the Roland Garros semi-finalist, while Djokovic and Federer lost in the previous rounds.
Rafael Nadal is perfect when he reaches a Major semi-final without Federer, Djokovic.
The Spaniard took advantage and regained his Parisian crown following victories over Jurgen Melzer and Robin Soderling. Rafa had to wait seven years to advance into a Major semis without his most formidable rivals, standing as the favorite in Paris while his rivals battled with injuries.
Nadal stormed over Dominic Thiem and Stan Wawrinka to wrap up the title in style and lift his first Roland Garros trophy in three years. Two Majors later, Rafa stood alone in the US Open semi-final and toppled Juan Martin del Potro and Kevin Anderson for his first New York crown in four years.
Roland Garros 2018 saw Nadal in his zone, dropping one set in seven encounters and playing miles above all of his rivals. Juan Martin del Potro and Dominic Thiem claimed only 16 games in six sets against the king of clay, who extended his dominance at a beloved Major.
The 2019 US Open saw Rafa against Daniil Medvedev, Matteo Berrettini and Grigor Dimitrov in the closing stage. The Spaniard ousted Berrettini to reach the final and prevailed over Medvedev after an epic battle for the second US Open crown in three years.
Returning from a foot injury that ruined his 2021 season, Rafa battled past five rivals to find himself in the Australian Open semi-final this January. Novak Djokovic could not play at his favorite Major, and Rafa took full advantage.
The Spaniard defeated Berrettini in the semis and performed one of his greatest comebacks versus Medvedev in the final that lasted for five hours and 24 minutes. It was Nadal’s sixth Major crown without Federer and Djokovic in the semis, and the seventh came in June at Roland Garros.
Rafa defeated Novak in the quarter-finals and took down Alexander Zverev and Casper Ruud en route to his 22nd Major crown.