Novak Djokovic defeats Roger Federer to set up French Open showdown with Rafael Nadal

Chris Chase
Busted Racquet

The Novak Slam vs. all-time French Open supremacy.

No. 1 vs. No. 2.

The first time in history that the men's final has been the same at four straight Grand Slams.

There will be no shortage of storylines on Sunday when Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal face off in a highly-anticipated men's final at the French Open.

The world's top two players had little trouble in the semifinals. Nadal easily dispatched countryman David Ferrer 6-2, 6-2, 6-1 to win for the 51st time in 52 career matches at Roland Garros. Djokovic didn't let three second-set breaks slow him down against Roger Federer. He broke back four times in the set en route to winning in straights, 6-4, 7-5, 6-3.

Djokovic's win over Federer was a disappointing anticlimax, standing in stark contrast to their last three Grand Slam semifinal meetings. Two of those were instant classics: Federer snapping Djokovic's winning streak at last year's French Open and Djokovic returning the favor three months later by saving two match points to stun Federer at the US Open. Friday's match had little of that drama. Only a bizarre second set featuring seven breaks and countless unforced errors that landed five feet out or in the bottom of the net saved the match from being completely forgettable.

Friday's anticlimax begets Sunday's thrills. We've seen the Nadal-Federer final four times before at Roland Garros. With the exception of their first meeting in 2006 and the opening 75 minutes of last year's, Nadal has always been in complete control. As great as it is to see Federer in a Grand Slam final, it's for the best that he couldn't come through against Djokovic. He wasn't going to defeat Nadal anyway.

Chances are, neither will Djokovic. The clay is too slow and Nadal has been too crisp to foresee an upset at Roland Garros. Federer agrees. He called Nadal "the overwhelming favorite" after Friday's match.

If Djokovic does prevail, he'll become the first man since Rod Laver to hold all four Grand Slam titles at once. Nadal is playing for his own history: a seventh French Open title that will move him past Bjorn Borg.

Two legends playing for one title and a piece of tennis history.

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