Nadal and Federer all set to renew great rivalry
Paris: Rafa Nadal will equal Bjorn Borg's record of six French Open titles if he can lift the Coupe des Mousquetaires on Sunday but Roger Federer has his own holy grail to chase -- beating the Spaniard at Roland Garros.
Top seed Nadal has so dominated the claycourt grand slam over recent years that players and pundits alike have dubbed him the greatest ever on clay despite the 25-year-old still trailing Borg's record.
His movement around court, fierce topspin and sheer will to win has made him almost unplayable alongside the Bois de Boulogne and only Robin Soderling in 2009, when he was struggling with knee pain, has managed to beat him here.
Federer has tried four times and failed, with three of those defeats coming in finals.
The Swiss, who holds a record 16 grand slam titles and has little more to accomplish, finally sealed a much-coveted French Open title in 2009 but the fact Nadal was not across the net somehow took the sheen off his achievement.
The odds are against Federer overcoming his great rival on the clay but Nadal did start the tournament in shaky form before flourishing and has the added weight of knowing defeat on Sunday will hand Novak Djokovic his world number one crown.
In contrast Federer is playing some of his best tennis here, even surpassing 2009, with the proof coming in his stunning four-set victory over Djokovic in the semi-finals to end the Serb's 41-match winning streak in 2011.
The victory extended Federer's remarkable 175-0 win ratio when two sets to love up.
If Nadal and Federer can match the drama of that semi or the epic tussles the pair have enjoyed at Wimbledon in recent years, Roland Garros is in for another very special treat.