Nadal confident of Federer showdown


Paris, June 2:

Spanish ace Rafael Nadal is full of confidence after sweeping past compatriot David Ferrer to book an eagerly anticipated semi-final meeting with world No 1 Roger Federer. Nadal, who will turn 19 on Friday, will be looking for an extra special birthday present on semi-final day, with a place in the final of the French Open at stake. Ferrer, who was suffering back problems throughout the contest, did not put up much opposition on Tuesday, and Nadal dominated the final two sets to win 7-5, 6-2, 6-0. However, Nadal likely is to have a much tougher task in his next outing with Federer now standing in his way. The Swiss star booked his place in the last four on Tuesday with yet another straight-set win, hammering Romanian Victor Hanescu 6-2, 7-6, 6-3.

That match looks set to be a mouth-watering encounter with Nadal, who won the claycourt events in Costa do Sauipe, Acapulco, Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Rome before coming to Paris, appearing stronger than ever as he reached his maiden Grand Slam semi-final. Federer

won three of the four Grand slams on offer last year, but never has managed to come away triumphant from Roland Garros. Although to many experts Nadal is considered the favourite for the tournament, the youngster would clearly prefer all eyes to be on his 23-year-old opponent. Federer equally is convinced he can beat his rival, especially after rallying from two sets down to defeat the Spaniard in the final of the Miami claycourt event in April.