Nadal crushes Ferrer to reach final
Rafael Nadal remained on course to win a record seventh French Open title with a 6-2 6-2 6-1 demolition of fellow Spaniard David Ferrer in the semi-finals at Roland Garros.
The defending champion, who equalled Bjorn Borg’s previous record of six wins in Paris last year, will face world number one Novak Djokovic in Sunday’s final, after the Serb beat Roger Federer 6-4 7-5 6-3 in an disappointing second semi-final.
The 25-year-old went into the match with an overwhelming 15-4 win-loss record against Ferrer and rarely looked troubled, particularly behind his serve which has only been broken once so far in the tournament.
"You cannot expect to win this semi-final in this way against one of the best players in the world - it was my best match at Roland Garros this year," Nadal said after ending Ferrer's ordeal in an hour and 46 minutes.
"David deserved to be in the final too and is one of my best friends on the tour. I wish him all the best for the rest of the season.
"I'm very happy to be in the final of Roland Garros. There is no secret. I've worked hard all my life to enjoy moments like today. I feel good.”
Ferrer made a solid start to the match, even enjoying three break points in the fourth game after a series of brutal forehands did the damage.
But Nadal was quick to save them, lifting his game to deny his compatriot on all three points before racing through the next five games, including two breaks, to snatch the first set.
Nadal broke to love in the fifth game as errors began to creep into Ferrer’s play, before holding for the loss of just the one point to consolidate his dominance of the opening set.
Another break in the seventh game for the world number two essentially saw the set go Nadal’s way, a forehand going wide from Ferrer before the six-times defending champion served out after 39 minutes.
Ferrer did stop the rot in the opening game of the second set when Nadal sent a regulation forehand long down the centre of the court.
But it was a brief respite for the older of the two Spaniards, Nadal holding without too much trouble before breaking in the third game despite playing one shot while sitting down on the service line after slipping mid-point.
Ferrer imploded in the fifth game of the second set, struggling to get a single ball in play as Nadal broke for a second time when his opponent sent a forehand whistling long of the baseline as the already tricky conditions deteriorated further at Roland Garros.
Only a rain delay could halt the defending champion’s inexorable march towards the final, as the players were forced off court for 55 minutes with Nadal a set and the double break up in the second.
But the world number two picked up exactly where he left off when play resumed, quickly sealing the second set before rubbing salt to his compatriot’s wounds by breaking for the opening game of the third set.
Nadal broke again in the fifth game, rifling a forehand winner straight down the line before also breaking to seal the match at the first attempt when he stepped inside the baseline and battered an off-forehand winner across court.