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French Open

Nadal to face Federer in French Open final

  • Story Highlights
  • Rafael Nadal crushes Novak Djokovic in straight sets to reach French Open final
  • Second seed will face either world number one Roger Federer of Switzerland
  • Federer beats Gael Monfils in four sets in second semifinal at Roland Garros
  • The world's top two players meet in French final for the third successive year
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(CNN) -- Three-time defending champion Rafael Nadal will face world number one Roger Federer in the French Open final for the third successive year after the dominant pair safely negotiated their semifinal matches on Friday.

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Rafael Nadal is aiming to match Bjorn Borg's effort of winning four successive French Open titles.

Nadal had an easier than expected victory over Novak Djokovic in the opening semifinal, triumphing 6-4 6-2 7-6 (7-3) against the Serbian world number three.

Federer later prevailed against spirited home hope Gael Monfils, dropping the second set before winning 6-2 5-7 6-3 7-5.

The Swiss maestro, bidding to win the French Open for the first time to add to his tally of 12 grand slams, looked in command after cruising to the opening set and breaking his youthful opponent early in the second.

But Monfils, roared on by a partisan crowd on the Philippe Chatrier Court, broke back and took his chance in the 12th game as Federer unexpectedly faltered.

Federer edged ahead again with a solitary break giving him the third set, but few pundits would have predicted that Monfils would detain him on court for over four hours.

He had two match points at 5-4 in the fourth, but failed to convert either, eventually wrapping it up on his third match point in the 12th game of the set.

Nadal, who defeated Australian Open champion Djokovic en route to winning at Roland Garros in the previous two years, rushed through the first two sets and took a 3-0 lead in the third before the Serbian finally found his game.

Nadal needed to save a set-point at 6-5 down, when it looked like the match would go into a fourth set as Djokovic showed the fight and power that has become his trademark.

But second seed Nadal, who has yet to lose a match in four years at the Grand Slam event, re-established his dominance in the tie-break and took a 6-0 lead.

Djokovic again refused to give in, winning the next two points on his serve and then taking another from that of left-hander Nadal.

However, the Mallorcan won a tense subsequent rally with a superb overhead crosscourt smash to take another step closer to matching Bjorn Borg -- the only man to win four consecutive French Open titles.

"Against Federer is special," Nadal said. "I will try and face history," he told the Associated Press.

Before their eagerly-awaited clash on Sunday, it will be the turn of Ana Ivanavic of Serbia and Russia's Dinara Safina to contest the women's final with the both seeking their first grand slam title.

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