Federer, Nadal in French Open final

Updated: 25 February 2007 10:34 IST

Roger Federer overcame a dismal start on Friday to earn his first berth in a French Open final when David Nalbandian retired with an injury.

Federer, Nadal in French Open final

Paris:

Roger Federer overcame a dismal start on Friday to earn his first berth in a French Open final when David Nalbandian retired with an injury in the third set.Now all he has to do is beat Rafael Nadal.With a pair of semifinal victories, tennis' top two players set up the Sunday showdown that most everyone has anticipated since the tournament began. It will be a clash of streaks: the top-ranked Federer's 27 consecutive wins in Grand Slam matches, and defending champion Nadal's record 59 wins in a row on clay."To play in our first Grand Slam final against each other, I think that's quite special, you know, No. 1 and No. 2 in the world," Federer said.The last time Nos. 1 and 2 met for the men's title at Roland Garros was in 1984, when Ivan Lendl beat John McEnroe.The marquee matchup briefly appeared in jeopardy. Down one set and 3-0 in the second, Federer rallied and led 3-6, 6-4, 5-2 when No. 3-seeded David Nalbandian retired with an injured abdominal muscle.Nadal advanced in more straightforward fashion against No. 4 Ivan Ljubicic but took 2 hours, 49 minutes to win 6-4, 6-2, 7-6 (7).If Federer wins the championship, he would become only the third man to hold all four Grand Slam titles at the same time, joining Don Budge and Rod Laver. He would also become the sixth man to achieve a career Slam by winning all four majors."It would be something quite incredible," Federer said. "It hasn't happened for such a long time. To have created this opportunity, it's unbelievable."But he's 1-5 against Nadal with four consecutive losses, including a defeat a year ago in the French Open semifinals. Nadal is 13-0 at Roland Garros, and 23-0 this year on clay.Justine Henin-Hardenne will bid for her third Roland Garros title on Saturday against Svetlana Kuznetsova, who will play in her first Grand Slam final since winning the 2004 US Open. (AP)



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