x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Epic Nadal and Federer rivalry set to resume

The most decorated men's player are set to thrash it out at Roland Garros.

Today's final will be the 25th time the great rivals will meet in their careers.
Today's final will be the 25th time the great rivals will meet in their careers.

Roger Federer's stunning victory over Novak Djokovic may have shocked the French Open, but it came as no surprise to Rafael Nadal who will renew his epic rivalry with the Swiss in today's Roland Garros title match.

Federer brought Djokovic's 43-match winning spree to a halt in their semi-final Friday to set up a fourth French Open final in six years against five-time champion Nadal.

"You are more surprised than me that Roger is in the final. We know how good he is, he is having a great season, losing only to me and Novak," said Nadal, who can equal Bjorn Borg's record of six French Open titles with victory in the final.

"He lost to Novak in Australia, Dubai and Indian Wells; to me in Miami and Madrid. He won in Doha and he's always making semi-finals and finals."

Today's final will be the 25th time the two great rivals have met in their career.

It will be their 19th final clash and eighth meeting in a Grand Slam final, although their first in a major since the 2009 Australian Open title match, which the Spaniard won.

Federer is the holder of a record 16 Grand Slam titles while victory on Sunday would take world No 1 Nadal to 10.

Despite that, Nadal said yesterday that the Swiss player's accomplishments will never be equalled.

"It's impossible to be at your best every week. What he has done is impossible for the rest of us to repeat. It will be an honour to play him, it's no surprise to see him in the final."

Nadal has won all of his three Roland Garros finals against Federer and in 2008 allowed his opponent just four games, the most one-sided Paris final since 1977. But Nadal said that brutal mauling will count for nothing on Sunday.

"In 2008, I was playing the best tennis of my career. But that was three years ago. It's impossible to compare matches. I will go on court knowing I can win or I can lose," said Nadal, who will retain his world number spot if he wins.

The pressure was lifted from Federer's shoulders with his triumph over Robin Soderling two years ago to enable him to finally complete his set of grand slam titles, but he knows beating Nadal on the court he has made his own would be possibly his crowning glory.

"I'm looking forward to the match with Rafa, who has been my true rival for all those years. This is obviously another big match," said Federer.

"It always seems to me that Rafa needs to be in a French Open final to make it special, and I got the match I guess I was hoping for. After beating Novak, it's in a way a gift that I get the chance."

* Agencies