Nadal-Djokovic to face-off for French Open title

Jun 09, 2012, 02:16 IST | Agencies

Record-chasing Djokovic and Rafael Nadal crush their semi-final opponents to set up exciting French Open final.

For the third straight time in a Grand Slam final, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal will meet.

That Nadal made it by winning his French Open semifinal in a breeze against David Ferrer was no shock. That Djokovic got there after facing only a wisp of a challenge from Roger Federer well, that came as a bigger surprise.

The top two players each won in straight sets today second-seeded Nadal in a 6-2, 6-2, 6-1 whitewashing of sixth-seeded Ferrer and top-seeded Djokovic in a 6-4, 7-5, 6-3 win over third-seeded Federer that didn't feel that close.

If Djokovic wins on Sunday, he will become  the first man in 43 years to win four straight Grand Slam tournaments. Pic/AFP

The final is Sunday and one of these men will make history: Either Nadal will win his seventh French Open to break the record he now shares with Bjorn Borg, or Djokovic will become the first man in 43 years to win four straight Grand Slam tournaments. And while they'll have trouble putting on a better show than their last Grand Slam final the nearly six-hour, five-set drama Djokovic won at the Australian Open it shouldn't be hard to stage a more competitive day of tennis than what happened in the semifinals.

"I hope we'll play a shorter match because playing six hours in Australia was very long," Djokovic said. "But it was a great match. I think it was the most beautiful match of my life, of my career. I look forward to another beautiful match."

The key stat in Djokovic's win was Federer's 46 unforced errors, to 17 for Djokovic, as the 16-time major championship winner struggled with the conditions on yet another windy day at Roland Garros, as well as the pressure of having to go for big shots to get anything past his top-seeded Serbian opponent. 

“I am happy to be in the final here, it’s always difficult to play against Roger,” said Djokovic, who had his 43-match winning streak ended by Federer at the same stage of Roland Garros 12 months ago.

“It’s a dream to be in the final, but Rafa, who always plays so well here, will be the favourite.”

Defeat for Federer, the 2009 champion, left him waiting once again to add to his record 16 majors, the last of which came at the 2010 Australian Open.

"He played well under difficult conditions," said Federer, who had been 3-0 and 5-4 ahead in the second set.

"But I had chances. There are no excuses. I tried and if I had won that second set, it would have been a different match. But it didn't work out."

Nadal said his demolition of Ferrer was one of the most complete matches he has played for some time.

Nadal is looking win his seventh French Open to break the record he now shares with Bjorn Borg. Pic/AFP

The Spaniard was only briefly troubled at the start of the match, saving two break points in the fourth game before accelerating away for victory.

It was, he said, "one of my best matches on this court."

"In my opinion I did almost everything right, because my serve worked very well, changing directions.

"My backhand was at its best so far today. I hit the forehand well during all the tournament. Today wasn't an exception."

The win sees Nadal into his seventh final in eight years and once again he has done so without dropping a set. In fact he has only once had his serve broken, in the second set of his first round tie against Simone Bolelli.

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