Nadal, Federer set up classic French Open rematch

Paris, June 8:

Rafael Nadal will take on Roger Federer in the French Open final for the second year in a row

after both won their semi-final matches on Friday.

The Spanish defending champion fought off a spirited challenge from sixth seed Novak Djokovic of Serbia to win 7-5, 6-4, 6-2 and reach the final without dropping a set. Top seeded Federer edged past fourth-seeded Nikolay Davydenko of Russia 7-5, 7-6 (7/5), 7-6 (9/7) to make it through to the championship match for only the second time.

“I am so happy with this win,” Nadal said. “I started so well and my forehand was working well forcing him to run a lot. After the first set I was well on my way and it makes it very difficult for anyone to win three sets in a row against me.”

Nadal carried an unbeaten streak of 19 matches into his semi-final with Djokovic who at 20, a year younger than the Spaniard, was playing in his first Grand Slam semi-final.

A win for Federer in Sunday’s final would make him just the sixth man in history to have won all four Grand Slam titles and the first since Andre Agassi here in 1999.

He would also be only the third player to win four Grand Slams in a row after Don Budge and Rod Laver and would stand halfway to the fabled calendar Grand Slam having won the Australian Open in January.

A win for Nadal would give him a hat-trick of French Open titles at the age of just 21, the first player to do so since Bjorn Borg in 1980 and just the second in 93 years.