Thursday, July 24, 2014

Nadal, Djokovic to clash for title

PARIS—Rafael Nadal is going for No. 9 at the French Open—and the only man who can stop him is Novak Djokovic.
Nadal already is a record eight-time champion with a lifetime 65-1 record at Roland Garros.

One more victory on the red clay will make him the first man to win five in a row and give him his 14th Grand Slam title—tied in second place with Pete Sampras.
The top-seeded Spaniard reached the final by beating Wimbledon champ Andy Murray 6-3, 6-2, 6-1 today on Court Philippe Chatrier, the stadium Nadal calls his favourite place to play.
Djokovic defeated Ernests Gulbis 6-3, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 in the first semi-final.
Nadal has beaten Djokovic at the French Open in all five of their meetings, starting with a quarter-final victory in 2006.
They also met in the semi-finals in 2007, ’08, and ’13, and in the final in 2012.
The second-seeded Djokovic, however, has beaten Nadal the last four times they have played, including on clay in the final in Rome last month.
“I’m going to try to be aggressive because that is the only way I can win against him,” Djokovic said.
“I know that, of course, this is the court he’s most dominant on,” Djokovic added. “He has only lost one time in his career.
“This is where he plays his best.”
Sunday’s winner also will be ranked No. 1 on Monday.
Nadal currently is at the top, but needs to extend his French Open winning streak to 35 matches to stay there.
He certainly played like the No. 1 today.
Nadal jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first set, then broke early again in the second and third sets.
The Spaniard had six break points in the entire match—and converted each one.
Murray couldn’t even manage to earn a single break point.
Djokovic, meanwhile, was able to control the pace of his match while letting Gulbis’ unforced errors mount.
The powerful Latvian, playing in his first Grand Slam semi-final, finished with 44 errors.
Djokovic is a six-time major champion who needs to win the title at the French Open to complete a career Grand Slam.

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