8 Jun 2013

Nadal to face Ferrer in all-Spanish French Open final

2:50 pm on 8 June 2013

The defending champion Rafael Nadal will meet his countryman David Ferrer in an all-Spanish French Open final, after Nadal beat the world number one Novak Djokovic in a titanic semi-final.

Nadal triumphed 6-4 3-6 6-1 6-7 9-7 over the Serb, to move closer to an historic eighth French Open title in Paris.

The third seed took his record to a staggering 58 wins from 59 matches after recovering from 4-2 down in the deciding set to clinch victory - after four hours and 37 minutes.

The 27-year-old Spaniard moved into his 17th Grand Slam final, where he'll face compatriot David Ferrer, the fourth seed, who wrecked French hopes of a first male champion at Roland Garros in 30 years when he defeated the sixth seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-1 7-6 6-2.

It was a richly deserved reward for outstanding perseverance on the part of 31-year-old Ferrer, who reached his first Grand Slam final after five semi final defeats in 42 appearances.

Nadal leads their head-to-heads 19-4 and has won his last 16 meetings on clay with Ferrer.

Nadal's semi-final victory was his 20th in 35 career clashes - and 13th from 16 on clay - against Djokovic who still needs a French Open title to become only the eighth man to complete a career Grand Slam.

In a dramatic and controversial final set, Djokovic broke for 1-0 before Nadal levelled in the eighth game after the Serb had been handed a time violation and then lost a point when he collided with the net as he put away a smash.

Djokovic even summoned the tournament referee onto the court to argue his case that he had been wronged by umpire Pascal Maria and continued to rage as he prepared to serve at 7-8.

Nadal pounced, moving to three match points and clinched victory when Djokovic, who ended with an ugly 75 unforced errors, hit wild and long.