History beckons Nadal, Djokovic
Philippine Daily Inquirer
PARIS—Top ranked Novak Djokovic, one victory from becoming the first man in 43 years to win four consecutive major championships, will meet No. 2 Rafael Nadal, one victory from becoming the only man to win seven titles at Roland Garros.
Djokovic is undefeated in his past 27 Grand Slam matches, which includes beating Nadal in the finals at Wimbledon in July, the US Open in September, and the Australian Open in January. Nadal has won 51 of 52 career matches at the French Open; only he and Bjorn Borg have won the clay-court tournament six times.
Never before have the same two men met in four Grand Slam finals in a row, so it’s apt that no matter who wins Sunday, his achievement will be monumental.
“I have this golden opportunity to make history. This motivates me. It really inspires me. I’m really grateful to be in this position, obviously,” said the 25-year-old Djokovic, who owns five Grand Slam titles to Nadal’s 10. “And look, I’ll try to prepare for that match and get my hands on that trophy, if I can.”
Both Djokovic and Nadal breezed through their semifinals Friday. If this stage of a Grand Slam tournament is supposed to provide a challenge, it did not—which probably isn’t all that stunning in Nadal’s case, but was rather striking when you consider Djokovic faced 16-time major champion Roger Federer and won, 6-4, 7-5, 6-3, in a match that wasn’t really that close.
Nadal found himself flying by the seat of his pants—OK, white shorts—on one point against David Ferrer, somehow winning the exchange despite falling on his rump. Otherwise, he was completely in control en route to a 6-2, 6-2, 6-1 victory.
Nadal has so far won 71 of 72 service games, saving 18 of 19 break points.
Pretty close to perfect.
“I really don’t like to talk about perfection, because that, my opinion, doesn’t exist. You can always play better,” said the 26-year-old Nadal, whose only loss at the French Open came against Robin Soderling in the fourth round in 2009. “But, sure, I am very happy the way that I am playing. Probably today was my best match of the tournament.” AP