Nadal romps into French Open final

Rafael Nadal roared into his fifth French Open final today to set up a clash against the only man ever to have beaten him at Roland Garros.

Nadal, who turned 24 yesterday, brushed aside Jurgen Melzer 6-2 6-3 7-6 (8/6) in two hours and nine minutes in this afternoon's second semi-final after Robin Soderling took almost three-and-a-half hours to see off Tomas Berdych in the first.



Sunday's final will be a rematch of last year's fourth-round clash on Philippe Chatrier Court, which saw Soderling end Nadal's four-year unbeaten record in the tournament.



But despite following that up this year by stunning defending champion Roger Federer, Soderling will be a heavy underdog, with Nadal romping into the final without dropping a set.



Melzer, who came from two sets down to stun Novak Djokovic in the quarter-finals, would have matched the record for the most number of grand slams played before reaching a final had he won this afternoon.



The 29-year-old was playing his 32nd major, while world number two Nadal - who will depose Federer as number one if he wins on Sunday - was looking for his ninth final in 24 attempts.



The Spaniard had won both their previous meetings in straight sets and started as if he fully intended to do the same today.



Nadal was ruthless in the first set, breaking to love in game six thanks to a Melzer double-fault.



He then saved a break point of his own before taking the Austrian's serve again to seal four games in a row and the set.



Nadal almost made it six straight games when Melzer slumped from 40-0 up to break point down in game two of the second set.



He held but was broken again in game four before going all-out attack to get back on serve.



However, Nadal immediately regained the advantage, and went on to serve out the set following a brief hiatus when a spectator needed attention for what might have been heatstroke.



The Spaniard was in a hurry and his forehand was in full flight to help him break Melzer to love at the start of the third set.



The Austrian battled gamely to avoid a quick finish and broke back to love when Nadal double-faulted serving for the match.



After Melzer survived a break point in game 11, the set went to a tie break.



A topsy-turvy affair saw Melzer save two match points - the first on Nadal's serve - before finally succumbing to a third.



Soderling earlier powered into his second successive Roland Garros final after coming from two sets to one down to beat Berdych.



Giant-killing Swede Soderling's dream of a maiden grand slam title hung in the balance when costly errors allowed his opponent to take control of the match.



But the 25-year-old fought back to win 6-3 3-6 5-7 6-3 6-3 on a sun-baked Philippe Chatrier.



Today's semi-finals were the first in a grand slam not to involve Roger Federer since the 2004 French Open.



Berdych had already gone further than he had ever done at a grand slam.



The Czech - who crushed Andy Murray in round four - had not dropped a set all tournament and had comfortably beaten Soderling at the Miami Masters in April.



But despite making far fewer errors than the Swede, he was unable to match his opponent's impressive 62 winners.



Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk