World number one Rafael Nadal emphatically booked his place in Sunday’s French Open final as he swept aside Britain’s Andy Murray 6-3, 6-2, 6-1 in the semi-finals on Friday.
The eight-time champion is through to his ninth final at Roland Garros, where he will face Novak Djokovic of Serbia, who defeated Latvian Ernests Gulbis on Court Philippe Chatrier earlier in the day.
The match, which was Murray’s second semi-final at the tournament, lasted just 100 minutes, and the Dunblane-born player did not manage to force a single break point against Nadal’s serve.
Nadal made things look like a procession at times and the writing was on the wall for his opponent when the Spaniard broke his serve at the first attempt in the opening set, and he held out with no further breaks of serve to win it in 34 minutes.
The 28-year-old sent down some crushing forehand winners throughout the match, and an air of inevitability came over the crowd on Chatrier as well as the players, with two further breaks of serve being enough to seal the second set.
There was no way back into the match for Murray from there, and three further breaks in the third set were enough to send Nadal to his ninth final in ten years as he sealed the match on his first break point.
A total of 24 winners to Murray’s 11 and 15 unforced errors to Murray’s 26 told much about Nadal’s air of dominance across the three sets, and he has now improved his win-loss record against Murray to 15-5 and his overall win-loss record at Roland Garros to 65-1.
His only defeat at the second Grand Slam of the year came in 2009, when he was beaten in the fourth round by Swede Robin Soderling.
Murray is still yet to reach the final of a tournament in 2014, though his run to the semi-finals has been his best Grand Slam performance since winning Wimbledon in 2013 and equalled his personal best at Roland Garros since 2011, when he was beaten by Nadal at the same stage.
The final on Sunday will be a repeat of the 2012 final, which Nadal managed to win in four sets. It will also be the 42nd time that the world’s top two players have come up against each other, with Nadal leading the Serbian 22-19 on their head-to-head matches.
But Djokovic can take confidence from the last meeting between the pair, which was in the final of the Rome Masters in May, a match which Djokovic won in three sets.
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