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Eight-time champion Nadal to face Djokovic in French Open final

AFP

Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal renew their rivalry on Sunday when they meet at the men's singles final at the French Open.

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The two men both secured spots in the final after stunning victories on Friday.

Djokovic, the No. 2 seed, took just 2 hours and 34 minutes to beat the 18th seed, Ernests Gulbis 6-3, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.

Nadal was even more impressive. He crushed Andy Murray, the 7th seed, 6-3, 6-2, 6-1, in one hour and 40 minutes.

By the end of his match, Djokovic looked spent although Gulbis, a Latvian appearing in his first Grand Slam final, was also struggling with a back problem.

Djokovic told the press conference that he was suffering from ''general fatigue'' and added ''I'm just glad I won in four sets, because if it went to a fifth, God knows in which direction the match could go.''

Nadal has been nursing a back injury and had struggled in the Roland Garros warm-up tournaments. He had lost three times, more than in any clay season in his career. Those defeats included a loss to Djokovic in Rome.

On Saturday, as a scorching summer sun shone on Roland Garros for first time this year, drying the clay, Nadal looked unstoppable.

Murray has two Grand Slams and an Olympic gold to his name, but he was powerless against the Spaniard.

The victory took Nadal's winning streak at Roland Garros to 34 matches. He has now lost only once in 66 matches and won the tournament eight times.

He has dropped just one set this year, to David Ferrer. Last year he dispatched Ferrer in the final in straight sets.

Djokovic has dropped just two sets this year.

The last time either man was in a real fight at Roland Garros was in last year's semifinal when they faced each other and Nadal prevailed, 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 6-7, 9-7.

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