Nadal poised to claim French Open history
Rafael Nadal is poised to become the first man to claim five successive French Open titles and once again crush Roger Federer's fading, lifetime ambition of securing a career Grand Slam.
The 22-year-old world number one may have seen his latest, marathon clay court-winning streak halted at 33 by Federer in Madrid.
But the Swiss star's hopes of that victory - which came a day after Nadal spent over four hours beating Novak Djokovic in his semi-final - heralding a new dawn seem certain only to usher in another dark chapter at Roland Garros where he has lost the last three finals to his great Spanish rival.
Two years ago, Federer ended Nadal's 81-match streak on clay at Hamburg to instill fresh confidence of finally cracking the French code, but he was to be denied once they resumed hostilities in Paris.
On the evidence of the 2008 tournament here, where Federer won just four games in a brutally one-sided final, the 13-time Grand Slam title winner looks doomed.
Adding to the odds stacked against him is Nadal's record of having won all 28 matches he's played in the French capital. Furthermore, in 2008, the Spaniard swept to the title without dropping a set.
But Federer refuses to concede defeat, believing that his win in Madrid, which was his 58th career title, but first of 2009, could represent another launchpad.