Brutal Nadal holds off Djokovic to reach final

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Spaniard Rafael Nadal withstood a late fightback by Novak Djokovic to beat the world number three 6-4 6-2 7-6 at the French Open on Friday and muscle his way into the final for the fourth consecutive year.

The three-time defending champion saved a set point in the third set to win in two hours 49 minutes and advance to a final against either world number one Roger Federer or unseeded Frenchman Gael Monfils.

Nadal, who has never been beaten at Roland Garros, was at his brutal best from the start, pulling Serbian Djokovic all over the court and smashing winners on both sides.

One break, in the third game of the match, was enough for Nadal to win the first set. He romped through the second but had to save a set point at 6-5 down before winning the tiebreak 7-3 to reach the final without losing a set for the second successive year.