PARIS - No go, Djoko. It's Roger vs. Rafa in tomorrow's French Open final, again.
Novak Djokovic's perfect season and 43-match winning streak were ended by Roger Federer in the semifinals at Roland Garros yesterday. The 16-time Grand Slam champion beat the second-seeded Serb, 7-6 (5), 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (5), and will face Rafael Nadal in the final for the fourth time in 6 years.
"I've trained a lot during my whole life for these kinds of matches," Federer said. "There was an enormous amount of pressure on Novak and he really played well."
Five-time champion Nadal, who is one victory away from equaling Bjorn Borg's record of six French Open titles, defeated Andy Murray, 6-4, 7-5, 6-4, earlier on Court Philippe Chatrier to improve his record at Roland Garros to 44-1.
Tomorrow, Nadal will try to beat Federer for the sixth time in eight Grand Slam finals. Federer is 8-16 against Nadal, 2-6 in Grand Slams, and already has lost to Nadal twice this year.
In the women's final, defending champion Francesca Schiavone, of Italy, will face China's Li Na this morning.
Djokovic entered the French Open as the hottest man on tour, winning every tournament he'd played in 2011, including earning his second Grand Slam title at the Australian Open. But the third-seeded Federer had an answer to just about everything Djokovic could muster, sending back shot after shot and waiting for his opponent to make a mistake, even though Federer finished with 46 unforced errors, five more than Djokovic.
Djokovic had not played since Sunday, when he beat Richard Gasquet in straight sets in the fourth round. His quarterfinal opponent, Fabio Fognini, withdrew a day later, giving the Serb a free ride into the semifinals.
"What I would like to say, and I said it to him at the net, is that his record, although it's not the best because other players have done better - today it's so physical and professional - what he achieved is unbelievable," Federer said.
Nadal reached his sixth final in 7 years at Roland Garros by beating the fourth-seeded Murray. He wasn't perfect, struggling at times with his serve and getting broken three times, but his play was consistent enough to take care of his opponent's defensive tactics.
Since opening the tournament by falling behind two sets to one against John Isner, Nadal has won 17 sets in a row.