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Tennis
The Nadal v Djokovic battle recommences
Rafael Nadal meets nemesis Novak Djokovic for the fourth straight time in a Grand Slam final at the French Open.
Last Modified: 08 Jun 2012 18:45
With victory in the final Nadal will secure his seventh French Open title [GETTY]


Rafael Nadal was so good, he might have won with a hand tied behind his back. As it turned out, he was still able to capture one point while sitting down on the red clay.

Slapping a shot back at David Ferrer even after he'd slipped onto the ground at rain-slicked Roland Garros, Nadal pulled out the point and many others on Friday, advancing to the French Open final with a 6-2, 6-2, 6-1 blowout over his sixth- seeded opponent.

But it is unlikely Nadal will be able to win any points from the ground against world number one Novak Djokovic who defeated Roger Federer in their semifinal 6-4, 7-5, 6-3.

Nadal called it his best match at the French Open so far this year - definitely saying something given he hasn't dropped a set and has lost a total of only 35 games in six matches.

"I think you cannot expect to win a semifinal like this against one of the best players of the world,'' Nadal said.

But he did.

Epic battles

On Sunday, someone will make history: Either Nadal will win his seventh French Open to break the record he 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.

"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"

Novak Djokovic (on their last Grand Slam clash)

"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.

Federer, a 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.

Since his loss to Federer last year, Djokovic has won 27 straight Grand Slam matches, matching Federer for second place on the Open era list.

Another win would give Djokovic the non-calendar-year Grand Slam, and if he were to follow that with a win in the first round of Wimbledon, he would share the record with Rod Laver, the last man to win the four biggest tournaments in a row.

But Nadal stands in his way with his record to break, and there could be no stronger test of Djokovic's reserves on clay.

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Source:
Agencies
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