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Page last updated at 11:59 GMT, Sunday, 5 June 2011 12:59 UK

French Open final as it happened


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By David Ornstein

1900: And on that note, I bid you farewell. Let's raise a glass to Rafael Nadal for lifting the men's title, Li Na for capturing the women's gong and Roland Garros for a frankly riveting 15 days. I mean, what else would we have done with our fortnight? You lot deserve a special mention, too. We couldn't use every single contribution but that doesn't mean they weren't appreciated. Get yourselves back here for our live coverage of Queen's this week and then the big one, Wimbledon, from 20 June - 3 July. I've been David Ornstein. Bye for now.

Pat Cash on Twitter: "Was just in the locker room Federer went to shower followed by the drug tester watching!! Just what u need after a heart breaking match."

Infostrada2012 on Twitter: "Nadal is the first No. 1 seed to win #RolandGarros since Kuerten in 2001. Nadal won his previous editions as No. 4 and No. 2 (4 times). Federer has now lost a record 4 finals @RolandGarrosEN. Record for losing a specific GS final is 5 by Ivan Lendl at the US Open."

Joshings on Twitter: "Whenever these two geniuses play a final, tennis is the real winner. Congrats Rafa, and welcome back the Real Federer."

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Anon via text on 81111: "A true sporting rivalry is one filled with respect, class, quality but most importantly two people bringing the best out of each other. Federer vs Nadal is all of that and more. Here's to these two at Wimbledon."

1830: Down comes the curtain on the 2011 French Open and with it the clay-court season. Nadal's victory over Federer sees him collect a 10th Grand Slam title, draw level with Bjorn Borg on six Roland Garros crowns, improve his record at this tournament to 45-1 and retain the world number one ranking. For Federer, it's heartache. The wait for a second Coupe des Mousquetaires and a 17th Grand Slam title goes on, while his head-to-head with Nadal now reads 17-8 in the Spaniard's favour. Federer, meanwhile, has still not beaten Nadal at a Grand Slam tournament since Wimbledon 2007.

Boris Becker on BBC Two: "Nadal's a great number one and a great ambassador for the game. He remains the king of clay."

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Anon via text on 81111: "Just struck me that Rafa and fed could meet in the semis at Wimbledon this year due to the seedings. It would be a travesty if they met before the final!"

Rafel Nadal: "I want to congratulate Roger. Sorry for today but he has played some incredible tennis these past two weeks. Thank you very much and see you next year!"

Andrea Petkovic on Twitter: "Vamooooooosssss!!! Rafa crying there on matchpoint?? Man, I love this guy! Toni, too!"

Daily Mail tennis correspondent Mike Dickson on Twitter: "Nadal 2nd youngest to reach 10 Grand Slam wins, 11 months older than Borg. Not quite at his best over 2 weeks but look at name on trophy."

Infostrada2012 on Twitter: "Nadal has winning streak of 7 GS finals, equal to Federer (2003-06). Only Sampras has longer winning streak GS finals played - 8 (1995-00)."

John Lloyd on BBC Two: "Amazing fightback in the third by Federer, but he was a step too slow in the last 20-25 minutes. Rafa looked stronger as the rallies went on and, on a clay court, that is crucial. But it was an incredible performance by Nadal."

1815: Roger comes forward to collect his runner-up trophy. Wonderful ovation. Now here comes Rafa... la Coupe des Mousquetaires is his. Aloft it goes. The sun has emerged to light up the Paris sky. What a moment. Now for the Spanish national anthem. Great tune. These are special times.

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Michael, Perth, via text on 81111: "No matter the result today, I think respect has to be paid to both players after serving up a magnificent final. In terms of excitement to the public, these two are miles in front of any other players ever to grace the sport. Although I'll be cheering on Andy Murray at Wimbledon in two weeks time, I wouldn't mind seeing another five set thriller between these two again come July."

The match is over


Nadal 7-5 7-6 (7-3) 5-7 6-1 Federer
Nadal saves some of his best for last. A couple of outrageous forehands take the defending champion to 30-0 and when Federer nets a backhand service return, Rafa has three championship points. His first serve is a let... cameramen at the ready... crowd mumbling... DRAMA... first serve long... second in... rally ensues... FEDERER FIRES LONG! Nadal sinks to his knees and drops his head into his hands. He's crying. He's done it! HISTORY! GAME, SET, MATCH AND CHAMPIONSHIP... RAFAEL NADAL.
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*Nadal 7-5 7-6 (7-3) 5-7 5-1 Federer
An error-strewn start to game six suggests both men are tiring. However, Nadal seems to have slightly more spring in his step and a weak Federer forehand gives the Spaniard a break point. Saved. But Rafa then comes in for to shut off a Federer pass with a crunching volley and it's a second break point. Federer nets a loose backhand. Nadal gets the double-break and victory is now his for the taking.
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Rakhesh, Eaglescliffe, via text on 81111: "I can't put into words just how much respect I have for Federer. Nobody expected him to get to the final, let alone put up a fight against the greatest clay-courter of all time and his biggest rival, especially after the demolition of 2008. Immense performance. This is competitive sport, played in the right spirit, at its very best. COME ON ROGER!"

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Jeffrey, Manchester, via text on 81111: "Whatever happens today and whichever order you put them in, surely these are the greatest two players of all time?"

Nadal 7-5 7-6 (7-3) 5-7 4-1 Federer*
Nadal again makes the better start but there's nothing he can do when Federer fakes a forehand up the line and instead feathers a stunning drop shot. The 29-year-old then ends a gripping rally with a perfectly-placed forehand pass from midcourt for 30-30. How can he produce such brilliance one second and then dump a routine backhand into the net the next? Reminds me of myself. At 40-30 Nadal things Federer has put a backhand into the tramlines. He walks back to his seat even though the ball wasn't called out. Down comes the umpire... and he confirms Rafa's belief.
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*Nadal 7-5 7-6 (7-3) 5-7 3-1 Federer
Rafa gets his nose in front for 0-15 and shows breathtaking defensive skills to force bring up 0-30. Not that that explains a wild Federer forehand approach. The Swiss then picks an awful moment to release his first double fault of the day. That's 0-40 and three break points. Federer nets a forehand. Nadal breaks.
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Nadal 7-5 7-6 (7-3) 5-7 2-1 Federer*
A near-identical riposte from Nadal. I'm not even going to attempt to call this set. Both men have sorted their serves out and cut back on the unforced-error count. Pure and unadulterated brilliance.
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*Nadal 7-5 7-6 (7-3) 5-7 1-1 Federer
"The crowd support for Federer here is remarkable," says John Lloyd on BBC Two, "Nadal must feel like he's playing an away Davis Cup tie." The world number three's serve is looking impregnable right now and a hold to 15 transfers the pressure back to our defending champion. Does sport get any better than this?
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Stewart, Southampton, via text on 81111: "The great Federer comeback has begun, and I have two university exams tomorrow... this is too cruel."

Nadal 7-5 7-6 (7-3) 5-7 1-0 Federer*
Power, precision, grace and poise, Federer crafts his way to 0-40 and three break points. But equally-extraordinary is the way in which Nadal saves all three and then forces Federer to frame a backhand out of the stadium. That, my friends, could prove a telling hold.
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Boris Becker on BBC Two: "Federer's been playing well and in the right way all final long. I think it was a bit disrespectful that people were only talking about Djokovic and Nadal before the tournament so he's proving everyone wrong. But at 4-2 in the third set, I was sure the match was over. Nadal has to regroup and focus on his first couple of service games. Federer is flying right now."


*Nadal 7-5 7-6 (7-3) 5-7 Federer
"I think you'd better adjust the volume on your remote," Andrew Castle tells BBC Two listeners after a wondrously-disguised forehand drop shot from Federer brings up three set points and lifts the roof off Court Philippe Chatrier. The 16-time Grand Slam champion puts a forehand long but then wrong-foots Nadal with another to hold to 15 and keep his hopes alive of a second French Open title. If Federer wins this match he will have won each of the four Grand Slams at least twice. Roy Emerson and Rod Laver are the only two other players to have achieved this feat.
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Nadal 7-5 7-6 (7-3) 5-6 Federer*
The noise is literally deafening as Federer plays his best game in a long, long time to dismantle the Nadal serve. "You've got to do it with elegance and style to win this crowd over and he has it in abundance," says Andrew Castle on BBC Two. The 29-year-old from Basel gets to 0-40 and three break points. He nets a tame forehand on the first but nails a backhand on the second. There's the break and Federer will now serve for the third set.
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Alex Tucker, York, via text on 81111: "Our hearts go to Federer, coming so close to the first set, and only losing the second by a tie break, he's a wonderful player and a gentleman too."

*Nadal 7-5 7-6 (7-3) 5-5 Federer
Federer opens up with a booming delivery before Nadal responds by retrieving a drop shot and passing Federer at the net with a delicate backhand pick-up. Roger cranks up the first serve, though, and ace number 11 - a kicker out wide - sees him level the set.
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Nadal 7-5 7-6 (7-3) 5-4 Federer*
Nadal gets in on the ace act with his third of the day. Tremendous hold to love, that. The Spaniard is now potentially a game away from the title. So, Federer will now serve to stay in the match. HUGE game coming up...
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*Nadal 7-5 7-6 (7-3) 4-4 Federer
Drops shots galore from the Fed strings in game eight, which he secures to 15 with ace number nine. "Back from the brink," says Andrew Castle on BBC Two. He couldn't, could he? Keep the tweets coming via Twitter hashtag #BBCtennis or text us on 81111 (UK).
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John Lloyd on BBC Two: "Strange set, this one. You thought Nadal would start to move away after a poor service game by Federer, but then Federer breaks back easily. Federer has set out to attack Nadal from the start and he's sticking to that strategy."

Nadal 7-5 7-6 (7-3) 4-3 Federer*
Let's not speak to soon, hey? After all, this is arguably the greatest player of all time. Federer gets lucky at 0-15 when he slips and Nadal comes in to dispatch a forehand, only to rifle it into the net for 0-30. A winner takes the Swiss to 0-40 and three break back points - and he strikes immediately when Nadal fails to reach a perfectly-weighted drop shot. "ROGER! ROGER!" rings around Chatrier. It would now appear the end is not nigh.
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*Nadal 7-5 7-6 (7-3) 4-2 Federer
Nadal ups the pace with a scarily-big forehand for 30-0 and Federer then prods a woeful drop shot into the net.Three breaks points and Federer goes wide with an uncharacteristically poor forehand. Rafa breaks and it would now appear the end is nigh. But who knows...
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Infostrada2012 on Twitter: "Federer has won 5 GS matches after 2 sets behind - twice @RolandGarros. Last time in his career was 1st round WIM 2010 vs Falla."

Nadal 7-5 7-6 (7-3) 3-2 Federer*
Glorious angles from young Rafael before a sucker-punch-of-a-forehand for 15-0. He's toying with Federer at times. The third seed's latest forehand error - a shoulder-high drive into the net - gives Nadal 40-30 before the Spaniard attempted lob flies beyond the baseline. Federer returns the favour and Nadal then dispatches a well-timed forehand to seal the hold. The Spaniard's hasn't been at his mind-boggling best today, but he's on course for a record-equalling sixth French Open crown.
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*Nadal 7-5 7-6 (7-3) 2-2 Federer
Nadal finding the baseline with incredible accuracy. And that's the difference in six inches. One good, one not so good. 15-15. Nervy times for Federer as he blazes long to make it 30-30. Feds looking good but a wild forehand is dragged wide and it's deuce. "That was a good opportunity" says John Lloyd on BBC Two. Nothing wrong with the next forehand though as he slaps back a brilliant winner. He's hanging in there.
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Nadal 7-5 7-6 (7-3) 2-1 Federer*
Nadal's turn to bring up 40-0 in the blink of an eye. He goes long with a backhand volley and another error makes it 40-30, but a good first serve gets him over the line.
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*Nadal 7-5 7-6 (7-3) 1-1 Federer
Ace number nine for Federer takes the Swiss to 40-0 and he gives us another glimpse of his undoubted class with a sliced backhand drop shot from the baseline to complete the love hold. Some of the crowd cheer, other shout "boom!". Feel like I'm at a drum-and-bass rave.
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Nadal 7-5 7-6 (7-3) 1-0 Federer*
An untroubled service hold gets Nadal off to an ideal start in set three and you'd have to think the dream is starting to die now for Federer. He finished the second set with a first-serve percentage of 67% to Nadal's 71% and 23 unforced errors to the Spaniard's seven. One-way traffic. But it's not over yet...
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Pat Cash on BBC Radio 5 live: "Federer's got to continue attacking - it's no good sitting back. Federer did well to hang in and he had his chances in that set - it's a big ask but Federer is not going anywhere. He got a thumping in their last final at Roland Garros and he will have to continue attacking."

Boris Becker on BBC Two: "Federer is playing well, but not on the right points. He's making an unforced error too many at the crucial moments and this has been the story of the match. It's now or never for Federer - he must fire on all cylinders."

*Nadal 7-5 7-6 (7-3) Federer
Nadal bounces around baseline like a boxer awaiting the bell and strikes two devastating forehand blows to his opponent's jaw. Federer lets his guard down twice - two forehand errors - and Nadal is in dreamland at 4-0. The 16-time Grand Slam champion is wobbling but gets off the ropes to score twice, only to miss his chance to punish a second serve - 5-2. Federer goes for broke and takes control of the eighth point. But he comes up with a tame overhead and is easily passed at the net with a crosscourt backhand. We all saw that coming and it's 6-2. Late show of resistance from Federer for 6-3, but Rafa runs round a forehand, opens his hulking body and lashes it crosscourt for 7-3.
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Nadal 7-5 6-6 Federer*
Low-key but effective, Rafa holds firm under pressure to take us to a tie-break. Nerve-jangling stuff. Who's it to be?
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*Nadal 7-5 5-6 Federer
A hold to love. And what a hold to love. A bit of everything from the Fed Express there - big serving, huge forehands, magical backhands. Not sure what his maths was like at school, the Swiss, but his angles are ruddy brilliant. Rafa will now serve to stay in the set and he looks to be on the ropes.
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Nadal 7-5 5-5 Federer*
Nadal strikes first after the restart to bring up a second set point but Federer holds out and then registers a break back point. And he takes in when a nervy-looking Nadal shanks a forehand long. Federer breaks back and there's no doubts who the rain break helped there. The second set is alive and kicking.
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1620: Not a spot of rain during usually-wet Wimbledon for the last two years, yet a downpour during the French Open in usually-sunny Paris, what's all this about? Anyway, I'm delighted to say the shower has been and gone so we're about to resume. Spectators running back to their seats. Players back out and ready. People still having their photos taking with the trophy in the president's box.

Times tennis correspondent Neil Harman on Twitter: "It has actually stopped raining, no covers on. Think we could be back soon. Hard to believe that this is the first rain delay of the fortnight. Been incredible for Paris at this time of year."

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Rosy, Cambridge, via text on 81111: "Re: Lee from Canterbury - Can you imagine if Federer had a big backhand like Djokovic's? Maybe that would provide a stern challenge to your hypothetical player."

It's raining
*Nadal 7-5 5-4 (40-40) Federer
Some excellent shotmaking from both men takes us to 30-30 before Nadal ups the ante to bring up a set point. But a big forehand clips the tape and drifts long for deuce. Is that rain I see? Oh dear. Yes it is. Up go the brollies and umps asks for the balls to be collected. We're heading off. RAIN STOPS PLAY.
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Pat Cash on BBC Radio 5 live: "It was a fantastic effort by Federer with Rafa close to a double break. But Federer kept going for his shots and some great play and was unlucky not to hold his serve there. The man Nadal manages to get the ball back so often and this is a huge game. Going down two sets it could be curtains. He has to be break back right now."

*Nadal 7-5 5-4 Federer
Real trouble for Federer at 0-30 and then 15-40. Two break points. A one-two-punch followed by a trademark drop volley save the day, but it's only a temporary reprieve. A poor volley finds the net to give Nadal a third break point and Federer claws a forehand wide. "NO!" he yells. Nadal breaks and will now serve for a two-set lead. Federer has committed 15 unforced errors to Nadal three this set, although he does lead the winners count 19-7 and ace count 5-1.
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Lee, Canterbury, via text on 81111: "Can you imagine if Nadal had a big serve like a Roddick or even up to the standard Federer's? We would be looking at the best tennis player ever, hands down."

Andrew Castle on BBC Two: "Federer is back in it and the French have found their voice here."

David Felgate on BBC Radio 5 live: "He may just have turned the tide, just as Rafa did in the first set. A fantastic effort. Federer was a break down and 0-30 down and looking likely to lose the set and maybe the match. But now it's 4-4 and game on."

Nadal 7-5 4-4 Federer*
Now it's Federer's turn to dictate early stages and a couple of raking forehands prove too good for Nadal - 15-30. Nadal gets back to 30-30 before Federer has him scampering from side to side with numerous bludgeoning groundstokes, finishing the Spaniard off with a sublime forehand winner to register a break back point. Nadal saves that and a second break back point, only to concede a third. The defending champ misses his first serve... can Federer pounce on the second? Here it comes... MASSIVE forehand return... Nadal nets! Federer breaks back.
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Anon via text on 81111: "This Nadal trainer thing has occurred far too often to be a coincidence. I don't think it's fair on us the fans as it denies us the chance to witness a real classic! I have turned away from the telly by the way."
Well, stick with us here online, then.

ChrisMStephens on Twitter: "Right now, Federer probably praying for some rain. Might help him quite a bit, a delay."

*Nadal 7-5 4-3 Federer
Ace number eight (to Nadal's one) helps Federer to 40-0 and the love hold is his when Rafa goes long and wide with a backhand service return. Still life in the 29-year-old yet.
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Nadal 7-5 4-2 Federer*
Too easy for Rafa in the early stages of game six. He finds himself 40-15 up in no time. But Feds responds with a peace of a drop shot that Rafa doesn't even bother moving for. Too good. Suddenly Federer's backhand is firing again and he gets Rafa sliding all over the place before finishing with a smash for deuce. "Some of the crowd are on their feet willing Federer on," says Andrew Castle on BBC Two. Can he get the break back? No chance. Rafa does the business with two forehand winners.
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John Lloyd on BBC Two: "Federer keeping himself in touch here, every service game is a must win for him at the moment and he's hanging in there. His serve bailed him out at some crucial times in the last game."

Infostrada2012 on Twitter: "Federer has won 3 GS finals after losing 1st set - WIM 2004 vs Roddick, 2009, vs Roddick, AO 2006 vs Baghdatis."

*Nadal 7-5 3-2 Federer
Worrying times for Federer and his army of fans as Nadal punishes another sloppy start by racing to 0-30. Roger's being pushed back by his opponent's weight of shot time after time. Nadal brings up and break point, only for Federer to wriggle out of trouble with that tried and trusted serve down the 'T'. Two more breaks points come and go before a backhand winner seals the deal.
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Andrea Petkovic on Twitter: "There's not a lot I can do really. Rafa is just the equivalent to Backstreet Boys' Nick Carter when I was 13."

Nadal 7-5 3-1 Federer*
The stats show Federer has won the majority of points from rallies that have lasted three shots or less. Any longer and Nadal has tended to dominate. The 25-year-old world number one and defending champion smashes his way to 30-15 in game four but Federer replies with an inside-out forehand drive volley that Nadal can't reach. Real crowd-pleaser, that. But Roger's error-count is on the rise and he nets an easy backhand approach to hand over the game. "Against anyone else he would've used the drop shot there," says Andrew Castle on BBC Two. Fair to say Nadal gets into his head. Remember, Federer has not beaten Nadal at a Grand Slam since Wimbledon 2007.
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Graham, Notts, via text on 81111: "Nadal has the trainer come on yet again under the cosh and doesn't look back after. I wish I had a physio that could treat 'injuries' like that!"

*Nadal 7-5 2-1 Federer
A pinpoint ace out wide gives Federer a hold to 30 and his first game in a good 35/40 minutes. Much needed.
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Nadal 7-5 2-0 Federer*
That's seven games in a row for the defending champion and Andrew Castle on BBC Two is quite right when he says "Federer is being blown away." The 16-time Grand Slam champion has won only one point so far in the second set.
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*Nadal 7-5 1-0 Federer
Disastrous start to the second set from Mr Federer. He misses a smash he'd normally make with eyes shut to fall 0-40 down. Three break points. The first is saved but Rafa powers through at the second time of asking to snap up the break.
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1520: Nadal finishes the set with a first-serve percentage of 76% to Federer's 66%, nine winners to his opponent's 18 and 10 unforced errors to the Swiss's 18. What did you make of that set? Keep the comments coming @bbcsport_david using the Twitter hashtag #BBCtennis or text me on 81111 (UK).


Pat Cash on BBC Radio 5 live: "That's hugely devastating for Federer. He played about as well as he could for most of that set but his shoulders are now slumped. He went for everything like a boxer but Rafa has worn the onslaught. I just don't see what else Roger can do. He'll be hanging in there but it's ominous signs."

Nadal 7-5 Federer*
Clever stuff from Federer to get to 15-30, pounding several backhands into the deuce court before unleashing an unstoppable crosscourt backhand winner into the advantage court. But a couple of errors swing the momentum in Nadal's favour. Rafa finds himself at set point and picks the perfect moment to deliver a curving forehand that leaves Federer helpless. Superb turnabout from the world number one. Roger shaking his head in disbelief.
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Justin Gimelstob on Twitter: "These guys aren't playing with tennis rackets they are wielding magic wands!!! HUGE swing break 2 Rafa, he has his hooks into Roger now."

Andy Roddick, from Queen's, on BBC Radio 5 live: "Roger needs to have an aggressive game plan - but with Rafa - it's all about execution. It's an interesting match-up. It's so tough against Rafa with the way he moves. Roger will have to play high-risk and that will yield high rewards."

*Nadal 6-5 Federer
Successive forehand passes down the line give Rafa 0-30 and his fans are on their feet. "RAFA! RAFA!". Federer looks unflustered and pressurises his opponent into two errors for 30-30 but then it's Rafa's turn to dictate... viciously serving backhand... Federer wide... break point. Rafa starts to hit deeper and deeper and has Roger on the run, but the Swiss comes up with a miraculous drive from the baseline that curves on to the line and leave Rafa stranded. WHAT A SHOT. But Rafa isn't done yet and punishes for failing to pass him at the net with a easy smash and here's a second break point... Federer nets a forehand, Nadal breaks and that's four games in a row for the defending champion, who will now serve for the set.
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Nadal 5-5 Federer*
Rafa nets to gift his opponent the initiative at 0-15. A running forehand winner from Federer then makes it 15-30. But Nadal digs in for 40-30 and lets out a little "Vamos". When Federer places a crosscourt backhand wide, we're all square.
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Andrea Petkovic on Twitter: "In case anybody wonders, I'm a Rafa-Fangirl all the way. And, more importantly: Who doesn't love uncle Toni?"

*Nadal 4-5 Federer
Who on earth has the audacity to serve-volley against Rafael Nadal after missing their first delivery? Why Roger Federer, of course. An immensely tricky pick-up at the net is the icing on the cake. But all that is just for 15-0 and when Federer floats a defensive backhand into the tramlines, it's 30-30. "Massive point," says Andrew Castle on BBC Two. Federer nets a backhand. Break point to Nadal. Time for a monster rally... Federer in control... comes to the net for a backhand put-away... Rafa gets to it... forehand volley for Federer... finds the net! Nadal breaks back but must now hold serve to stay in the opening set.
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Nadal 3-5 Federer*
A horrible double fault suggests all is not well with the world number one. He manages to fight his way to 40-15, but Federer pins him back for deuce with a mind-blowing forehand winner. "He's all over Nadal's second serve today," says John Lloyd on BBC Two. When Rafa drills a forehand long, it's break and set point... Federer sliced backhand drop shot... inches wide. The umpire comes down for a look but confirms it is out. A reprieve for Nadal and he capitalises on it, passing Federer with an outrageous crosscourt backhand to snatch the game. Federer will now serve for the set.
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David Felgate on BBC Radio 5 live: "Roger has come out playing fantastically - the biggest difference today will be Roger's serve. It's so important to his success today."

*Nadal 2-5 Federer
We like to praise Rafa for incredible powers on clay, and rightly so. But Federer, lest we forget, grew up on clay and has been the second best player on the planet for some time. For the first time today, Nadal gets a look-in at 15-30 - only for Federer to shut the door with a third ace of the day. He puts away a forehand approach to extend his advantage and let's out a huge roar. Then comes the first pump and an "allez!". Nadal calls for the trainer... what's up? Off comes the sock to reveal heavy strapping on the Spaniard's left foot. Blisters? Hmmm... doesn't look good. He gets patched up then apologises to the umpire for taking so long. Encouraging signs for Federer and his fans in the stands are becoming increasingly vocal.
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Nadal 2-4 Federer*
"Federer's sending messages out to Rafa that if he misses h his first serve he's going to go at his second with some huge shots," says John Lloyd on BBC Two. More pressure from the Swiss but this time Rafa comes up with a delicious forehand winner of his own, an inside-out beauty, to grab the hold of serve. The sun's coming out and the Spaniard's starting to settle.
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*Nadal 1-4 Federer
Plenty of pressure on the Federer backhand at the start of game five but he deals with it well and then unleashes a breathtaking forehand winner for 15-0. Nadal starting to look a bit more comfortable, though, and brings it back to 30-30. The crowd has been only really been chanting Roger's name so far, but now we're hearing "Vamos Rafa!". However, Federer keeps calm, avoids any errors and retains his advantage when Nadal flicks a forehand long.
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Infostrada2012 on Twitter: "If Nadal loses #RolandGarros final, @DjokerNole will become #1 on ATP ranking for 1st time. Last #1 before Nadal/Federer - Roddick Jan 2004."

Nadal 1-3 Federer*
"Nadal is all at sea here, he hasn't settled at all," says Andrew Castle on BBC Two as the defending champion gets pegged back to 30-30 in game four. An overule helps Rafa to game point and he gets his name on the scoreboard when Federer, contesting a record 23rd Grand Slam final, pulls a forehand into the tramlines.
* Denotes next server

Pat Cash on BBC Radio 5 live: "Nothing really going to plan for Nadal so far. It's all been Federer - he's had a bit of luck and that's what you need. The serving is huge for Federer and if he can serve well and keep Rafa at bay.. well… Nadal hasn't been serving well."

*Nadal 0-3 Federer
A second ace of the day and a trademark Federer serve-volley help the third seed to a love hold. Majestic. Interesting stat for you... the last time the top seed won the French Open men's title was way back in 2001 when Guga Kuerten saw off Alex Corretja.
* Denotes next server

Times tennis correspondent Neil Harman on Twitter: "Nervy Nadal forehand netted and The Fed leads 2-0 on 4th break point. Very interesting. Rafa a bit rattled."

Nadal 0-2 Federer*
Nadal looks far from comfortable at the start of his opening service and Federer seems to sense as much, charging in again for another forehand put-away, albeit a little mishit. Moments later, Rafa sends a backhand into the tramlines for 15-40 and two break points. A forehand winner from the world number one and a forehand long from the world number three us to deuce before Nadal nets a routine groundstroke to give his opponent a second break point. Testing times. The Spaniard escapes that and a third break point when Federer goes long once more, but here's a fourth break point... Rafa comes in to dispatch an easy forehand... but dumps it into the net! Federer breaks and it's first blood to the 16-time Slam champ.
* Denotes next server

Pat Cash on BBC Radio 5 live: "Federer has got to mix the play up. These balls help with the volley. He doesn't need to go for the risky angled shots. He needs to let the pace of the ball do the work. He did that so well against Djokovic and he did that in that last point of the first game from the net."

*Nadal 0-1 Federer
A reassuring service hold from Federer to get the 2011 men's final up and running. He dictates the tempo with a series of thumping forehands to move 40-0 ahead. The great Swiss throws in a not-so great-forehand for 40-15 before surging to the net for a beautiful volleyed forehand winner down at his feet.
* Denotes next server

1415: Federer to serve first, here we go...

Boris Becker on BBC Two: "This is without doubt the best rivalry tennis has ever seen. My heart's telling me Federer, my head's telling me Nadal."

Jonathan Overend on BBC Radio 5 live: "Nadal is the clear favourite but when you're up against someone like Federer, you never know what's going to happen."

Roger Federer: "Honestly, I feel very well. I think I move very well, I'm never stressed. If there is a ball that you miss, it's just because the other one played it very well, and not because I made a mistake or I played bad tennis on the return, or on my serve. That's why I'm very happy at the moment with my game. Is it my best? I don't know. Last year maybe I had a hard time here and in Wimbledon, but sometimes it's hard to play the perfect match. So that's why you have to accept it and continue to work. I've always made it to the quarter-finals or semi-finals, so that's another step forward for me here. I made it to the final and I'd like to win it. I know I'll have to play Rafa, but I'll be ready. Whoever thinks it's going to be a walk in the park is so wrong. Everybody knows how many times he's gotten me here in Paris. I'm happy I never got a letdown just because he has beaten me here, and I [never] stopped believing. That's why I [won] Roland Garros in 2009, which remains one of the most special wins in my career. And I have another opportunity to beat Rafa here and get the French Open title. I've got to play some extraordinarily special tennis, I'm aware of that."

Rafael Nadal: "For me, seriously, I don't think about that. [I have] a lot of respect for the great Bjorn but I am focused on trying to play well. For me, it's much more important to win Roland Garros than equal Bjorn. If you compare now to one week ago, it is completely different. Seriously, being in the final of Roland Garros you can't have problems, you cannot have doubts. I had to forget about the anxiety or the fears I had something like two weeks ago, and now I have gained more confidence. After the victory [against Djokovic] he must feel very confident. I had a lot of fun watching that match. There's nothing new against Roger, I know what's going to happen. I know he's going to play aggressive, for sure. I have to try to play long, to play consistent all the time, and try to be aggressive when I have the chance."

Text in your views on 81111
Tommyk via text on 81111: "If Fed wins I'm never going to watch another game of tennis ever again. Not a statement of how impossible his task his, just of how incredible/deserved/romantic it will be if he pulls it off. The greatest story ever told in any sport. Allez Roger!"

1408: Anyway, back to the clay and both Nadal and Federer arrive on Court Philippe Chatrier to ear-splitting ovations. The pair meet at the net for the coin toss and a photo before retreating to begin their knock-up. Meanwhile, several male former champions are presented to the crowd. Got to love a bit of Guga Kuerten. Jim Courier, by the way, will be presenting the trophies later on. He remains the last man to win the Australian Open and French Open in the same year.

BBC Sport's Piers Newbery on Twitter: "Apparently @andy_murray is booked in for practice at Queen's from 2pm-4pm, weather permitting. And ankle. And tooth. #bbctennis"

1405: Talking of grass...

1355: So, the last day of the clay-court season is upon us. Ahhhhh. But you know what that means, right? The first day of the grass-court season is just around the corner - and Wimbledon starts two weeks tomorrow. Britain's Grand Slam event celebrates its 125th birthday this summer and we here at the Beeb are marking the milstone with a series of trails entitled "serving up decades of greatness". Twenty second video clips from 1900-1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and 2000s. Well worth a look (UK users only).

Pat Cash on Twitter: "Just popped in to the locker room nothing unusual Nadal and team very relaxed."

Luke, Nottingham, via text on 81111: "Surely if Fed wins today it's almost impossible to argue against him being the greatest player ever as the only thing missing from his CV is beating the 'king of the clay' at the French?"

Text in your views on 81111
Dom, Manchester, via text on 81111: "To say I'm nervous is an understatement. Wearing every bit of RF clothing I own. Heart would love a Federer win, but got a horrible feeling of Rafa in 4 sets. Allez Roger!"

1345: Fifteen minutes until the players are due on court, so let's crank this up. Piers Newbery's match preview puts everything into context and whets the appetite nicely, as does Kate Flory on the ATP World Tour website. Not only is Nadal attempting to join Bjorn Borg on sixth French Open titles, but he's also bidding to extend his Roland Garros record to 44-1. Geez. The 25-year-old Spaniard knows defeat today will see Novak Djokovic usurp his a world number one when the latest rankings are released on Monday.

Infostrada2012 on Twitter: "Nadal is 25 years, 2 days old today and can win his 6th Roland Gerros. Bjorn Borg was 25, 1 day old when he won his 6th RG trophy #bbctennis."

InfostradaLive on Twitter: "ON THIS DAY: In 2005 Rafael Nadal wins his 1st Grand Slam title beating Mariano Puerta in French Open final #tennis."

Text in your views on 81111
Vikas via text on 81111: "I am a huge Fed fan but the best he can hope for today is take Rafa to 4 sets or two tie breaks. What a birthday gift Roger presented Rafa on Friday beating Nole. This final was always going to be an anti-climax given the mental hold Rafa has over Roger, am not going to watch it as I can't see my man belted despite his efforts against Nole. Hoping he loses respectfully though."

1335: These two have broken so many records I'm not even going to attempt to list them all, but as Infostada2012 points out, a fourth meeting in the Paris showpiece takes them into uncharted waters. They have actually had one other face-off at Roland Garros, in the 2005 semi-finals. That was their first counter at a Grand Slam tournament and Nadal took it in four sets. Federer has won only two of their eight Grand Slam matches, at Wimbledon in 2006 and 2007.

Infostrada2012 on Twitter: "Fourth Nadal-Federer final at Roland Garros is a record for any Grand Slam. There were several 3 repeat-finals, incl Federer-Nadal at Wimbledon."

1330: This is the day we've been waiting for, well, for some time. Since 1 February 2009, to be precise. That was the last time Nadal and Federer met in Grand Slam final. Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne Park, Australia. The most recent of their seven major finals. Nadal triumphed 7-5 3-6 7-6 (7-3) 3-6 6-2 on that occasion. Who's up for something similar today?

The sun is out
BBC Sport's Piers Newbery at Roland Garros: "It's warm, sunny and getting hotter by the minute. Storms predicted for this afternoon but it's a belter now. Lunch is apparently sacred in Paris though, so we must wait until 3pm local time. The press seem to think Rafa in straight sets, the locals desperate for Rog to do the business."

1320: Courtside for us today, as he has been throughout the tournament, is the seemingly indefatigable Piers Newbery...

1315: Our friends at the ATP World Tour have had their say - and you can to. Just tweet me @bbcsport_david using the Twitter hashtag #BBCtennis or text me on 81111 (UK). Thoughts, predictions, tales, questions, random nonsense... throw it my way.

ATP World Tour on Twitter: "Read about every match in the Nadal vs. Federer rivalry. Nadal leads their ATP Head-2-Head series 16-8. #atp"

1310: Welcome to the 2011 French Open men's final. Weather permitting, A spectacular occasion awaits. You can watch every twist and turn, top-spun forehand, sliced backhand and drop volley live on BBC Two and online from 1400 BST. Alternatively, listen to full-match commentary on BBC Radio 5 live. But for the next 50 minutes at least, you're with me. So, let's get going...

1300: At some point in time, I do hope we all come to realise just how privileged we were to witness this rivalry, unquestionably one of the greatest in sporting history. But the future can wait, for now let's sit back and enjoy the present. And that means a 25th instalment of Rafael Nadal v Roger Federer. Two of the most talented individuals ever to pick up a tennis racquet, one bidding to capture a record-equalling sixth Roland Garros crown and the other seeking an astonishing 17th Grand Slam title. Skill, ability, athleticism, speed, power, intelligence, guile, class, respect, hunger, determination, emotion... what these guys don't have isn't worth knowing. Defeat is not an option. It genuinely does not get any bigger than this.

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see also
Nadal secures sixth French crown
14 Jun 11 |  Tennis
French Open men's final
06 Jun 11 |  Tennis
Nadal & Federer eye French glory
05 Jun 11 |  Tennis
China's Li wins French Open title
04 Jun 11 |  Tennis
Superb Federer ends Djokovic run
04 Jun 11 |  Tennis
Majestic Nadal holds off Murray
10 Jun 11 |  Tennis
Order of play
23 May 09 |  Tennis
Men's singles latest
21 May 10 |  Tennis
Men's singles results
21 May 10 |  Tennis
Women's singles results
22 May 11 |  Tennis
Men's singles draw
26 Aug 11 |  Tennis
Women's singles draw
28 Jan 10 |  Tennis
Nadal powers to fifth French Open
06 Jun 10 |  Tennis
Tennis on the BBC
26 Oct 11 |  Tennis

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