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Follow Me on TwitterRob Soria is the Edmonton Oilers' correspondent for OurHometown.ca. Rob was born and raised in Edmonton and is the author of the Edmonton Oilers blog - OilDrop.ca. He has been a dedicated follower of the game and its history for years but his focus remains on his hometown Edmonton Oilers. If you have questions or wish to contact Rob, you can email him at rsoria@ourhometown.ca
Djokovic and Nadal set to make history in French Open final
Rob Soria
OurHometown.ca

Djokovic and Nadal set to make history in French Open final
Heading into the 2012 French Open, most fans were hoping to see the ultimate battle between the two best players in the game, for a place in tennis history come championship Sunday.After both Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic easily cruised through their semi final matches, fans will be treated to just that. In what will be a match to remember for one of these two great champions.
PHOTO CREDIT - RolandGarros.com

Edmonton - June 9, 2012 - Heading into the 2012 French Open, most fans were hoping to see the ultimate battle between the two best players in the game, for a place in tennis history come championship Sunday. Defending champion Rafa Nadal looked poised to cruise past David Ferrer in search of his record setting seventh championship at Roland Garros. While Novak Djokovic appeared headed for a third consecutive lengthy match, as he took on Roger Federer for the right to play in Sunday's final.

Rafa came through as expected but the shocker of the day, was how easily Djokovic disposed of Federer. After playing one of the best matches of the 2011 season in last year's semi finals, the duo were unable to rediscover the magic. Novak was simply too good. There is little doubt that the "big three" have now become the big two, as Nadal and Djokovic square off for a fourth consecutive Grand Slam final.

As good as Ferrer had looked in dropping only one set in reaching the final four, he was given no chance of pulling off the upset and taking out the number two seed. No disrespect to the the Spaniard but Rafa looked unstoppable coming in. Those assumptions were not far off, as Nadal breezed past the number six seed 6-2, 6-2, 6-1. In a match that took just over an hour and forty-five minutes to complete, Rafa was at another level.

In what has become a recurring theme of the past two weeks, Nadal made only sixteen unforced errors on the day, dropping only five games. He broke Ferrer's serve seven times and lost only forty-eight points for the entire match. Calling his performance anything other than dominating, would not be doing it justice.

At this stage of the game and on this surface, the only one who looks to possibly have a real shot at upsetting Nadal. would be Djokovic. As good as the top ranked player in the world has played over the last eighteen months, knocking Rafa off his throne might just be the greatest accomplishment of his historic run. That's a pretty bold statement, considering he would become the first player to hold all four major titles at once, since Rod Laver pulled off the feat in1969.

After jumping out to an early lead in the opening set and a 3-0 two break advantage in the second set, Federer could not sustain his level of play on either occasion, losing both sets to Djokovic. In falling 6-4, 7-5, 6-3 the gap of just how far apart the top two players in the world have distanced themselves from Roger and the rest of the players on tour, has never been more apparent. It's a two person sandbox, that has no room for a third player.

Like Rafa before him, Djokovic committed next to no unforced errors, seventeen to be exact, while his opponent sprayed forty-six throughout the court. Federer broke Novak's serve four times, which is not a good sign for the talented Serb heading into Sunday's final, but dropped his own serve on seven occasions. As great as Roger has been, time is starting to pass him by when it comes to "The Big Boys". Regardless of surface, in a best three out of five setting, he no longer has the game to compete with these two...unless they allow him into a match.

Either way, come Sunday afternoon a new chapter of tennis history will be written. Lets just hope these two great champions go toe-to-toe and give us yet another classic, in what has now become a ritual in Grand Slam events. Number One vs Number Two in a winner take all scenario...with the biggest winner of all being the game of tennis.


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