They came, they played and they made way for the bests. Yes, like many others we also thought prior to the start of the 2011 French Open that this year it would not be another Rafa-Roger final, while keeping the incredible surge of Novak Djokovic in mind. But like others we should not forget that these two tennis giants carry the greatest ever rivalry in the history of individual sport and a Grand Slam brings the best out of them. All said and done and yet again, we are all set to witness another epic final.
Well, it’s the ultimate showdown, a tennis fan would love to see and the world is in uproar – its World No. 1 Rafael Nadal up against the World No. 3 Roger Federer, in the final of the 2011 French Open. This time, both will lock horns on a familiar territory – Roland Garros after a while. Actually, last time these two took on each other in a Grand Slam title match was two years back in 2009 Australian Open final. So, after a two-year lull, these two finest players of the modern tennis are ready to resume their coveted rivalry for a fourth time in Paris and eighth time in a Major final.
This will be the 25th meeting between the two, when they will take on each other for the Roland Garros title on Sunday. Interestingly, Nadal and Djokovic had already faced each other four times in championships matches in the new season. And, just when it looked that no one can stop Djokovic from winning the French Open title this year, Federer reaffirmed his supremacy by snapping his 41 matches winning streak – in the new season.
Nadal did not have a good time against Djokovic this year, as he is 0-4 against the Serbian in 2011, but the World No. 1 leads the head-to-head record against Federer with a 16-8, including 11-2 on clay. This will be the third meeting between the two this year with Nadal winning the last two in Miami and Madrid.
If we look at the current form of these two then it appears that Nadal will be pretty happy to face Federer rather than Djokovic in the final. Djokovic thoroughly exposed the weaknesses of Nadal in this year, as the Serbian beat him in straight sets both in Madrid and Rome. In fact, Nadal also struggled in his first two round matches at the Roland Garros and did not look in his typical touch. Nadal had to battle past John Isner in five sets in his opening encounter and then he had to save eight break points against his compatriot Pablo Andujar. But after that Nadal regained some form and did not drop a set while earning wins over Antonio Veic, Ivan Ljubicic, Robin Soderling, and Andy Murray to his en-route to the final.
On the other hand, Federer started his French Open campaign on a high note, as he looked in complete control in his five matches against Feliciano Lopez, Maxime Teixeira, Janko Tipsarevic, Stansislas Wawrinka, and Gael Monfils. The Swiss ace faced the big test in semi-final, but finally emerged victorious over Djokovic in four sets with a 7-6(5), 6-3, 3-6, 7-6(5) scoreline.
It is always difficult to choose the favourite between Nadal and Federer, as both look at par with each other. Yes, Nadal is a better player on clay, but Federer has it to expose those latent weaknesses of Nadal, which can prove instrumental in deciding the outcome of this encounter.
Interestingly, in their last two Grand Slam final clashes, Nadal emerged victories, but both matches went into five-sets. Nadal certainly has an edge over Federer, but the Swiss ace must be burning from inside to square off some dues here. Get ready for another thrilling marathon encounter.