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Djokovic vs. Nadal in historic French final
France Tennis Heal
Novak Djokovic, of Serbia, celebrates winning his semifinal match against Roger Federer, of Switzerland, at the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros stadium in Paris on Friday. Djokovic won in three sets, 6-4, 7-5, 6-3. - photo by Associated Press

    PARIS — Here comes the French Open final everyone expected and, except for other players, wanted:
    No. 1 Novak Djokovic, one victory from becoming the first man in 43 years to win four consecutive major championships, against No. 2 Rafael Nadal, one victory from becoming the only man to win seven titles at Roland Garros.
    How's that for high stakes?
    Djokovic is undefeated in his past 27 Grand Slam matches, which includes beating Nadal in the finals at Wimbledon in July, the U.S. Open in September, and the Australian Open in January. Nadal has won 51 of 52 career matches at the French Open; only he and Bjorn Borg have won the clay-court tournament six times.
    Never before have the same two men met in four Grand Slam finals in a row, so it's apt that no matter who wins Sunday, his achievement will be monumental.
    "I have this golden opportunity to make history. This motivates me. It really inspires me. I'm really grateful to be in this position, obviously," said the 25-year-old Djokovic, who owns five Grand Slam titles to Nadal's 10. "And look, I'll try to prepare for that match and get my hands on that trophy, if I can."
    Won't be easy, that's for sure.
    Both Djokovic and Nadal breezed through their semifinals Friday. If this stage of a Grand Slam tournament is supposed to provide a challenge, it did not — which probably isn't all that stunning in Nadal's case, but was rather striking when you consider Djokovic faced 16-time major champion Roger Federer and won, 6-4, 7-5, 6-3, in a match that wasn't really that close.
    "His mental state and preparation for this match was excellent," said Djokovic's coach, Marian Vadja, "and this has to happen against Rafa."
    Nadal found himself flying by the seat of his pants — OK, white shorts — on one point against No. 6 David Ferrer, somehow winning the exchange despite falling on his rump. Otherwise, he was completely in control en route to 6-2, 6-2, 6-1 victory.

    Women's final
    When Maria Sharapova's opponent in the French Open final, Sara Errani, was 12 years old, she struck out on her own, leaving behind her family in Italy and heading off to Nick Bollettieri's famed tennis academy in Florida.
    Far from her parents, and not yet able to speak English well, Errani stuck it out for about 10 months, crying nearly every day. She called home a lot.
    "I knew she was determined and focused," her mother, Fulvia, said after watching Errani win her first Grand Slam semifinal, "so I knew she would figure things out."
    Now 25, Errani most certainly has. She figured out she needed to go back to Europe, eventually finding a new coach and a place to train in Spain. She figured out how to overcome the limitations of a 5-foot-4½ frame in a sport filled with taller, harder hitters — such as the 6-foot-2 Sharapova, a three-time major champion who will be standing across the net today at Roland Garros the title at stake.