Spanish press salutes French Open finalists

Spanish press salutes French Open finalists
Photo: Martin Bureau/AFP
The Spanish press were in raptures on Saturday as victories for Rafael Nadal and David Ferrer in Friday's French Open semi-finals set up a fourth all-Spanish men's singles final at Roland Garros on Sunday.

Madrid sports daily Marca dedicated the most coverage to the dual triumph hailing the two as "emperors" on their front page.

Inside they claimed that "Spain takes Paris" as Friday's wins continued a successful run of Spanish success in the French capital.

"In the 83rd international edition of the tournament, they will watch as another member of the Armada is crowned with the most valued clay court trophy," wrote Joan Solsona.

"Rafael Nadal, seven time French Open champion, aspires to be the first tennis player to have won the same Grand Slam on eight occasions.

"David Ferrer, his compatriot and friend, wants to begin his honours list in a city that brings his luck. It was in the Gallic capital where seven months ago he won his first Masters 1,000 event."

Unsurprisingly the focus was more on Nadal after his amazing 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 6-7(3/7), 9-7 win over world number one Novak Djokovic in over four hours of gruelling tennis.

"Nadal, leader in stamina" continued Marca as they pointed out the 27-year-old's incredible 16-5 record in five-set matches, making him in percentage terms the most successful active player when forced to go the distance.

"Everything is an admirable barbarity with this man," said Alejandro Delmas in the other Madrid sports daily AS.

"Bathed in suffering, refusing to lose due to his survival instinct, Rafael Nadal will tomorrow play his eighth final at Roland Garros against David Ferrer, against the history of this sport called tennis and against all the honours of all the players that have played at Roland Garros since before the First World War," he added.

There was also praise for Ferrer at finally making it to a Grand Slam final at the age of 31 and after losing the previous five semi-finals.

However, there was also little doubt that Nadal will be the huge favourite on Sunday given his exceptional record against his countryman.

Nadal has won 19 of their 23 previous matches and has only been beaten once on clay by Ferrer, back in 2004 when Nadal was just 17-years-old.

"In the final on Sunday, Ferrer won't have to scale a wall, but a Himalayan mountain," Delmas concluded.

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