Rafael Nadal is bidding to win his fourth French Open title in a row as he takes on David Ferrer in an all-Spanish final in Paris on Sunday afternoon.
Should he win the match, it will take Rafa to eight French Open wins in nine years and to the top of the winner’s list alongside Max Decugis, who won the tournament as many times when it was only open to French natives.
It would also see him become the first man to win a single Grand Slam tournament on eight occasions, taking him past legendary names such as Pete Sampras and Roger Federer.
Nadal has built up an ominous record in clay court tournaments over the past few years and has already won five events on the surface so far this year.
That fact is rather impressive considering he spent the best part of seven months out of the game after picking up a serious knee injury after Wimbledon last year, only returning to professional play in February.
The so called ‘King of the Clay’ holds a formidable record at Roland Garros and has only ever lost one match in Paris, winning all 58 of the others. The solitary loss was back in 2009 when he lost out to Sweden’s Robert Soderling.
The 58th win came on Friday, when he overcame Novak Djokovic in an epic match, a repeat of last year’s final, lasting four hours 37 minutes.
Nadal won the opening set 6-4 although his Serbian opponent won the next 6-3. Rafa then dominated the next 6-1 but let a 4-2 lead slip in the fourth set, with Djokivic claiming it on a tie-break. The final set was just as close, with the defending champion claiming it 9-7.
He is now one match away from making history but faces close friend and Davis Cup partner Ferrer in the final.
Ferrer has only ever beaten Nadal four times in their 23 tournament meetings and has only ever beaten him once on clay. That solitary win came right back in 2004, when Nadal was only 18, and he has won all 16 of their encounters on clay since that clash.
Ferrer also has the added pressure that this match will be his first ever Grand Slam final but will have gained confidence after crushing Jo-Wilfred Tsonga in straight sets in his semi-final on Friday.
Nadal began the tournament as a big favourite with the bookies at 8/11 and his charge to the final have seen the odds of him retaining the title cut even more. The best price now on offer for a Nadal win is 1/9 with Paddy Power.
Paddy Power also provide the best odds for punters who fancy backing outsider Ferrer and they are offering 13/2 for the 31-year-old to secure his first Grand Slam.
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