Something must have clicked on Wednesday after Rafael Nadal dropped the first set in his quarterfinal contest with David Ferrer. Since losing the opening set of that match, the four-time defending French Open champion has reeled off six consecutive set victories, including three in his semifinal victory over Andy Murray on Friday.
Nadal cruised to the 6-3, 6-2, 6-1 win over Murray to move into his ninth final at Roland Garros, setting up a rematch of the 2012 title bout against Novak Djokovic. Djokovic beat Ernests Gulbis earlier in the day.
The top ranked player in the world flew out of the gate and jumped on Murray 3-0 early. Much like he did in his match with Ferrer, he used his powerful serve to expose the backhand of Murray, who struggled with his returns all afternoon. He took the first set in a little over a half hour after smashing a gorgeous forehand winner after a long volley.
The execution did not go away for Nadal in the second set as he did not lose a point on any of his first serves. He broke the Great Britain native twice in the second set and captured it 6-2 to put the Wimbledon champion on the brink.
With the third set even at one, Nadal spiked a forehand winner to break Murray’s serve which all but broke the spirit of the seventh-seeded Murray. Nadal would go on to win the next four games and secure his spot in the French Open finals for a ninth time. The Spaniard’s serve and forehand proved to be too much as Murray returned 52 percent of them into the net in the third set, and Murray failed to pick up a single break point all match.
The victory sets up a match between the top two players in the world and the top two seeds in this tournament. Djokovic has beaten Nadal the last four times the two have met, but Nadal is 65-1 in his career at Roland Garros. The victor will not only be crowned as the French open champion but will also be number one in the Emirates ATP World Rankings, a position held by Nadal since October of 2013.
When asked about the challenge of playing Nadal in the final, Djokovic had nothing but praise for the eight-time champion:
“I’m going to try to be aggressive; because that is the only way I can win against him. I know that, of course, this is the court he’s most dominant on. He has only lost one time in his career. This is where he plays best.”