Nadal Vs Federer Preview - French Open Final

 @ibtimes
on June 05 2011 7:24 AM
Can Nadal defeat a resurgent Federer?
Can Nadal defeat a resurgent Federer? Reuters

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New chapters will be inked in Tennis archives on Sunday, as two players widely regarded as all-time greats of the game, battle it out in the final of the French Open.

Court Philippe Chatrier will be filled to the brim as Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer clash for the 25th time, with many hoping for a classic which ensued between the two like the Wimbledon final in 2008.

Nadal saw off British number one Andy Murray in straight-sets in the semis, but the big story of the day was Federer's return to power after ending Novak Djokovic's 43-match unbeaten run. Afterwards, the sight of a beaming Federer would have pleased any fan of the sport, especially after he told reporters that he had not disappeared anywhere.

What was more pleasing was that Federer seemed to play close to his best against Djokovic. Despite a poor conversion rate on break points, he forced enough of them to make the difference and with big serves and a typically commanding one-handed backhand, he could give Nadal some trouble if he plays the same way.

Honestly, I feel very well, said Federer after his win against Djokovic. I think I move very well, I'm never stressed. If there is a ball that you miss, it's just because the other one played it very well, and not because I made a mistake or I played bad tennis on the return, or on my serve.

That's why I'm very happy at the moment with my game. Is it my best? I don't know.

The Swiss legend is sure to have boosted his confidence with that commanding display, but he will know what he faces in Nadal. The Spaniard has got the better of him in four previous meetings at Roland Garros, including the finals of 2006, 2007 and 2008. The first seed will equal Bjorn Borg's record of six French Open titles if he wins and despite Federer's magnificence against Djokovic, Nadal is touted as the favorite purely due to his record against the Swiss on clay.

However, Nadal isn't giving a second thought about equaling Borg's record and is more concerned about facing a man who senses the chance to return to his glory days.

For me, seriously, I don't think about that, said Nadal. (I have) a lot of respect for the great Bjorn but I am focused on trying to play well. For me, it's much more important to win Roland Garros than equal Bjorn.

Off Federer, he added. After the victory, he must feel very confident. I had a lot of fun watching that match. There's nothing new against Roger, I know what's going to happen. I know he's going to play aggressive, for sure. I have to try to play long, to play consistent all the time, and try to be aggressive when I have the chance.

Federer himself was under no illusion and admitted it was going to be tough evening. He said, Whoever thinks it's going to be a walk in the park is so wrong. Everybody knows how many times he's gotten me here in Paris.

I'm happy I never got a letdown just because he has beaten me here, and I (never) stopped believing. That's why I (won) Roland Garros in 2009, which remains one of the most special wins in my career. And I have another opportunity to beat Rafa here and get the French Open title.

I've got to play some extraordinarily special tennis, I'm aware of that.

 It could be one of the greatest games in the sport. Time will tell. 

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