Rafael Nadal vs David Ferrer French Open final preview
Court Philippe Chatrier 3pm
In the fourth all-Spanish French Open Final (94,98,02), Rafael Nadal will be looking to earn an astonishing eighth French Open title (an Open Era record) and with it, solidify his spot as the greatest clay court player of all time. It hasn’t been a straight forward ride to the final with early wobbles against Daniel Brands and Martin Klizan but Nadal was in fine form against Djokovic in the final, outlasting the Serb in a marathon five setter.
Were it not for a combination of nervy serving and fine returning from Djokovic late in the fourth, Nadal could have finished the match off much earlier. Despite a few gifts along the way from Djokovic, namely the embarrassing smash attempt which saw him touch the net on his follow through, Nadal showed the fighting spirit that he is well known for to comeback and win in extras in the fifth.
Meanwhile, Ferrer has found it much easier throughout and has spent over six hours less on court in his run to the final than Nadal has. A lifeless crowd did little to inspire the home favourite Tsonga in the semi final and Ferrer took advantage with a professional performance to make it 18-0 in sets in the tournament this year. He has taken advantage of the kind draw to make his first slam final at the 42nd attempt – the most ever for a player to make their first final.
Given that Nadal is essentially a much superior version of Ferrer, it is hard to make a case for Ferrer to take this match, barring the unthinkable where Nadal would not be able to complete the match. Ferrer has won just 4 of 23 matches against his more illustrious opponent, three of which were in 2007 or earlier. The last time Ferrer won in competitive action was in the 2011 Australian Open, where he took advantage of a wounded Nadal to win in straight sets.
His attempts in Paris have been far less successful, winning just 12 games in two attempts. Last year, Nadal dominated from start to finish in a 6-2 6-2 6-1 victory and it is possible we could see more of the same if Ferrer starts off slowly. Nadal made it 14 straight victories on clay at the start of the year with a demolition job of Ferrer in Acapulco, winning 6-2 6-0 but lost sets in Rome and Madrid before running away with the third on both occasions.
Despite all this, the ever modest Nadal said in press “I’m not the favorite,” even though the bookmakers making Nadal a 1/8 favourite.
Nadal in 3