Spain's Rafael Nadal outclassed countryman David Ferrer 6-2, 6-2, 6-1 Friday in the French Open semifinals, advancing to a title match against world No. 1 Novak Djokovic that will be rich in historical significance.
In Sunday's final, Nadal, the world's second-ranked player, will be seeking a record seventh French Open title, while the Serb will be trying to become just the third man in tennis history to hold all four Grand Slam titles simultaneously.
The Spaniard has been ruthless in his march to the championship match and he seemed to take his game to even greater heights against Ferrer, who despite playing some of the best tennis of his career this fortnight could not even manage to make a single set competitive on Friday.
Ferrer had the edge in the very early going, winning the first five points of the match and holding two break points with Nadal serving 1-2 in the first set, but the second seed got out of that jam and then proceeded to put on a clinic the rest of the way.
He raced to a 6-2, 4-1 lead in gusty conditions before a 55-minute rain delay interrupted the proceedings, and then finished off the routine victory in one hour and 46 minutes.
Whether firing serves, hitting backhands with impressive depth and placement or dominating play with his forehand, the world No. 2's game was virtually flawless.
Nadal even won one point after slipping and falling on the red clay, hoisting a lob over Ferrer's head that forced a passing shot error.
"It was one of my best matches on this court. I think I played a really solid match with not easy conditions out there, a lot of wind," the 26-year-old Nadal said in the post-match press conference.
"In my opinion I did almost everything right, because my serve worked very well, changing directions. My backhand was the best day so far today. I hit well the forehand during all the tournament. Today wasn't an exception."
The 30-year-old Ferrer, who advanced to his first French Open semifinal this year, acknowledged his opponent's clear superiority.
"I tried to do my best, but when the opponent was better than me in the moment, there's nothing I can say," Ferrer said. "He played all the time very good; I didn't have any chance. Rafael is a very good player on clay courts. He's the best in history, and today he did an amazing match."
In the second semifinal, Djokovic scored a surprisingly easy 6-4, 7-5, 6-3 victory over world No. 3 Roger Federer to advance to his first-ever French Open final.
With the win, Djokovic got revenge for last year's semifinal, when Federer broke his incredible 41-match winning streak to start the 2011 season by defeating the Serb in four sets.
Nadal then went on to win his sixth title by defeating the Swiss great in four sets in last year's final.
Djokovic, who survived four match points in his quarterfinal win Tuesday over France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, will try on Sunday to join Australia's Rod Laver and American Don Budge as the only men's players in tennis history to be the title holder at all four Grand Slam events.
The Serb has defeated Nadal in the final of the last three major tournaments - the 2011 Wimbledon, the 2011 U.S. Open and this year's Australian Open.
Nadal - who has lost just 35 games through six matches, the fewest he has ever ceded going into the Roland Garros final - will be trying to break the record for French Open men's singles titles that he currently shares with Sweden's Bjorn Borg.
The Spaniard has a 51-1 record at Roland Garros, with his lone loss coming at the 2009 event.
The French Open is the second Grand Slam tournament on the tennis calendar and the only one of the four played on clay. EFE