The men's final at the French Open is set after semifinal action Friday and -- surprise! -- Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic will go head-to-head for another major title. The meeting will be the seventh between the two in the final match at a Grand Slam tournament. The most recent was the final of the 2013 U.S. Open, where Nadal beat Djokovic in four sets to win his 13th major title.
Since that bout at Flushing Meadows, however, Djokovic has dominated the series. Djokovic has won all four meetings since, including on clay this past May to win the 2014 Rome Masters. The two have met 17 times on clay, and Djokovic has won just four of those matches, though he has taken two of the last three.
Through the 2014 French Open, Nadal has appeared much better than the No. 1 overall player who stumbled into Roland Garros, however. He has played just one match longer than three sets -- a four-set victory over David Ferrer in the quarterfinals, during which he took the final two sets 6-1 and 6-0. On Friday, he trounced Andy Murray -- 6-3, 6-2, 6-1 -- winning 78 of 118 total points. He did not give up a break point opportunity, and broke Murray five times in five chances. Nadal landed his first serve in play at a 76 percent clip, scoring on 41 of 45 (!) of those serves.
Djokovic's victory was more workman-like, which is typical of the Serbian's performances in majors. He faced Federer-slayer Ernests Gulbis, and was able to weather the Latvian's powerful serve just enough -- he scored on 37 percent of the serves he received -- to win the match by simply being more sound. Djokovic had 30 winners to Gulbis' 40, but just 25 unforced errors to his opponent's 44.
A 6-3, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, victory reflects a match that was never in doubt except for a brief lapse of attention. He will be on point for Sunday's bout against Nadal in what should be another epic chapter in an incredible rivalry.