Spain’s Rafael Nadal and Serbia’s Novak Djokovic will meet again in a French Open final after scoring comfortable victories on Friday over Andy Murray and Ernests Gulbis, respectively, EFE reports.
Nadal, an eight-time champion at Roland Garros, played his best match of this year’s event to dismantle Murray 6-3, 6-2, 6-1 in the second semifinal, hitting 24 winners to his opponent’s 11 and making just 15 unforced errors compared to 26 for Murray.
The world No. 1 was ruthlessly efficient on serve and did not face a single break point in the entire match, while Murray won less than half of his overall service points and was broken on six occasions.
In an on-court interview afterward, Nadal – who delighted the crowd in Court Philippe Chatrier by trying to speak some French – acknowledged that he played at a high level on Friday but said he will have to play his best tennis to “have any chances” in Sunday’s final against the Serbian world No. 2.
In the first match on Court Philippe Chatrier, Djokovic cruised to a two-set lead with an efficient performance, committing just 12 unforced errors over the first two sets. But the second half of the match was more complicated for Djokovic, who struggled with the heat and also had to deal with a higher level of play from the Latvian. Djokovic, looking visibly fatigued, lost the third set but an early service break in the fourth got him back on track for the 6-3, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 victory.
The 28-year-old Nadal holds a 22-19 edge overall against Djokovic and has a 13-4 edge on clay. He also has a mind-boggling 65-1 record at the French Open – the only loss coming in 2009 at the hands of Sweden’s Robin Soderling – and extended his record for consecutive match wins at Roland Garros to 34 with Friday’s semifinal win.