Nadal to play Djokovic in French Open final

PARIS: The world´s top two players, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, will contest Sunday´s French Open final following the Spaniard´s 6-3, 6-2, 6-1 centre court demolition of Andy Murray on Friday.

Earlier Djokovic had won through his semi-final with a 6-3, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 win over Ernests Gulbis Of Latvia.

Top seed and eight-time winner Nadal now stands just one win away from becoming the first man to take the French Open title five times in a row, surpassing Bjorn Borg.

He also is on the cusp of a 14th Grand Slam title, which would put him level at second best on the all-time list with Pete Sampras and three behind Roger Federer.

Murray failed in his bid to become the first British player to contest the French Open final since Bunny Austin 77 years ago and will now turn his attention to defending his Wimbledon crown.

It was his worst loss to Nadal in nine Grand Slam match-ups between the two, surpassing the nine games he managed in the 2008 Wimbledon quarter-finals. “I think that today I played my best tennis at Roland Garros this year,” said Nadal. “After 10 years of coming here and to be back in the final for the ninth time – it´s something I never believed would happen in my life. “He (Djokovic) is an unbelievable opponent. He is always a big challenge and I need to play at my very best. He beat me the last few times we played.”

Nadal was aware that the last time he played Murray — on clay in Rome last month — the Scot won the first set 6-1, before losing in three.This time it was a very different scenario as the Spaniard, who turned 28 on Tuesday, hit the deck running, winning the first three games in just 10 minutes and for the loss of just three points.

Murray finally opened his account, but the one break of serve was enough for Nadal to take the first set 6-3.

It was another storming start to the second set from Nadal who bludgeoned two big forehand winners past Murray to set up breakpoint which he took when the seventh seed weakly hit a high forehand wide.

Murray was failing to make any impression on the Nadal serve with not a single break point offering him any hope, and it became an even steeper mountain to climb for him when he dropped serve for the third time to put Nadal 5-2 up.

The Majorcan duly pocketed the set by serving out to love and such was the one-sided nature of the contest that there was no sign of Murray´s habitual angry outbursts aimed at getting himself going.

The outcome looked a formality and when Nadal broke the Murray serve for the fourth time to lead 2-1 in the third the end was in sight for the 27-year-old Scot.

It came 18 minutes later when a dispirited Murray lost serve for the fifth and final time.

The win brought Nadal´s formidable record on the claycourts at Roland Garros, since making his debut in 2005, to 65 wins against the one loss, conceded to Robin Soderling of Sweden in a fourth round tie in 2009.

And it meant that he has now won 20 of the 23 Grand Slam semi-finals he has contested in his career, the last time he lost in the last four being against Juan Martin del Potro at the 2009 US Open.

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