Nadal, Djokovic to Extend Rivalry in Roland Garros Final | Zagsblog
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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Sunday / September 25.
  • Nadal, Djokovic to Extend Rivalry in Roland Garros Final

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    Nadal-NoleWhen Roland Garros began two weeks ago, there were 128 men in the draw.

    Now there are only two — and it is the same two men who virtually everyone expected to compete for the title.

    Eight-time champion and No. 1 seed Rafael Nadal will meet No. 2 Novak Djokovic for the 42nd time in Sunday’s championship with still more history on the line.

    Either Nadal will win his ninth French Open title and become just the third man in the Open Era to win 14 Major championships — Roger Federer is the all-time leader with 17 and Pete Sampras owns 14 — or Djokovic will become the eighth man to win all four career Majors.

    The two men have split six Grand Slam finals, with Nadal winning their most recent encounter in four sets in last year’s U.S. Open.

    “Of course the tension is rising, the expectations, the desire to win this trophy,” Djokovic said on court after dispatching Ernest Gulbis of Latvia, 6-3, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3. “There is only one more match to go.”

    Djokovic said after his victory that he wasn’t feeling that well and had yet to address the media by the time Nadal crushed Murray, 6-3, 6-2, 6-1, for his 34th straight victory at Roland Garros.

    A former Wimbledon and U.S. Open champion, Murray was seeking his first appearance in the French final but came up woefully short in what John McEnroe called a “really disappointing” effort.”

    Nadal improved to an unbelievable 65-1 at Roland Garros and will now seek his ninth championship there against his top rival in this Golden Age of men’s tennis.

    Nadal is 22-19 all-time against Djokovic, including 5-0 at Roland Garros.

    Nadal beat Djokovic in four sets in the 2012 French final and by 9-7 in the fifth set in the 2013 semifinals.

    Still, Djokovic has won their last four meetings, including a three-set victory last month in the final in Rome.

    “He’s an unbelievable opponent,” Nadal said. “Novak is always a big, big challenge. Only playing my best, I going to have any chance on Sunday. He beat me the last few times so he will come to this final with good confidence after beating in Rome but I think I am improving little bit day by day. Today I played at a high level so I’m going to try my best. Try to play aggressive and we’ll see what’s going on.”

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.