Photo: Paul ZimmerNovak Djokovic (SRB)
The men’s singles final at 2014 Roland Garros will be contested by the top two players in the world as No. 1 Rafael Nadal and No. 2 Novak Djokovic both progressed on a hot second Friday in Paris.
Djokovic was the first to book his place in Sunday’s showpiece as he withstood a tough test by the in-form Latvian Ernests Gulbis.
The Serbian, who is looking to complete a career Grand Slam by winning his first French Open title, prevailed 63 63 36 63 in a gruelling encounter with Gulbis.
“First two sets went well,” said Djokovic. “I thought I played well, very solid, putting a lot of returns back in the court, serving at the high percentage. Then suddenly midway through the third set started to feel physically fatigued a little bit, and you could feel that. You could see that both me and him, we struggled on the court.
“It happens, you know. It happens in the tournament, and important thing for me is that I realise what's going on. It's nothing serious. I'm going to have now two days of recovery and get ready for the final.”
Nadal, meanwhile, looked at his dominant best in the second semifinal against Britain’s Andy Murray. The Spaniard broke at the first time of asking and only allowed his opponent six games in a 63 62 61 victory.
“I think I played very well with my forehand,” said Nadal. “I think was important to serve the way that I served today. Is true that for a player like Andy ‑ he's a big returner ‑ that he make more mistakes than usual on the return.
“But is true too that I made a lot of times serve, and the first shot with my forehand starts to be very positive because I am able to take the advantage from the first shot.”
Murray agreed with the summary of the world No. 1: “He played a great match. He missed hardly any balls. He served very well.
“I mean, his forehand ‑ especially with the conditions the way they were today - was incredibly hard to control the ball. As soon as he was inside the court, he was hitting the ball so close to the line. He played great tennis.”
The ITF produces men's match notes at Roland Garros. For a full list of the notes please click here.