Spain's Rafael Nadal and Serbia's Novak Djokovic set up the semifinal matchup tennis fans have eagerly anticipated since the draw was made, scoring straight-set victories Wednesday over Stanislas Wawrinka and Tommy Haas, respectively.
Nadal, the world No. 4 and winner of a record seven French Open titles, spent less than two hours on court in a 6-2, 6-3, 6-1 rout of Wawrinka, while the top-ranked Djokovic suffered a bit more against his 35-year-old German opponent but came through with a convincing 6-3, 7-6 (7-5), 7-5 victory in two hours and 13 minutes.
In the first set, Nadal had break points in each of the Swiss' service games and converted two of them en route to comfortable early lead.
That sapped all the drama out of the match, given that Wawrinka had never won a set in any of the players' previous nine contests.
Djokovic, meanwhile, turned in a workman-like effort that suggested he was saving all of his physical strength and emotional reserves for what figures to be a titanic struggle on Friday.
After winning the first set with two breaks of serve, the Serbian found himself in a tougher battle in the second but he managed to come alive late in the tiebreaker to build a comfortable two-set lead.
Djokovic was rock-solid on serve throughout the contest, winning 82 percent of his first-serve points and a whopping 79 percent of his second-serve points.
Nadal will bring a 19-15 career head-to-head record against Djokovic and 12-3 edge on clay into Friday's semifinal.
But those numbers are deceiving because, since the start of the 2011 season, Djokovic has won eight of their 11 matches overall and three of their six matches on clay, including a convincing 6-2, 7-6 (7-1) victory in the final of this year's Monte Carlo Masters final.
Nadal defeated the Serbian in four sets in last year's French Open final.
In Wednesday's post-match press conference, Djokovic sounded confident about his chances against the Spaniard.
"Now I have a big challenge in front of me, and I'm ready for it," the world No. 1 said of Friday's marquee semifinal matchup.
"I've been playing well. I know that this is the biggest challenge for me in Roland Garros, no question about it, and I'm sure that it's going to be quite a good match."
"I need that necessary intensity from the start. I need to be willing to play on top of my game throughout the whole match, because that's what it's going to take to win against him," Djokovic said.
Nadal also acknowledged the huge challenge he faces, saying he would need to play at his "best level" and that he "couldn't care less" who is given the favorite tag prior to the match.
The winner of the Nadal-Djokovic contest will take on either Spain's David Ferrer or home-crowd favorite Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France in Sunday's final.
In women's quarterfinal action earlier Wednesday, world No. 2 Maria Sharapova and world No. 3 Victoria Azarenka set up a Thursday semifinal showdown with victories over Jelena Jankovic and Maria Kirilenko, respectively.
Azarenka got through a tough first set before cruising to a 7-6 (7-3), 6-2 win, while Sharapova shrugged off a first-set "bagel" to score a come-from-behind 0-6, 6-4, 6-3 victory over Jankovic.
Thursday's other women's semifinal will pit American world No. 1 Serena Williams, the favorite for the title, against Italian world No. 5 Sara Errani.
The French Open is the second Grand Slam event of the year and the biggest clay-court tournament in tennis.