Nadal seals battle of titans
Defending champion Rafael Nadal moved closer to an historic eighth French Open title on Friday when he defeated world number one Novak Djokovic 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 6-7 (3/7), 9-7 in a titanic semifinal.
Nadal, the third seed, took his Paris record to a staggering 58 wins from 59 matches after recovering from 4-2 down in the deciding set to clinch victory after 4 hours and 37 minutes.
The 27-year-old Spaniard, bidding to become the first man to win the same major for the eighth time, moved into his 17th Grand Slam final where he is likely to face Spanish compatriot David Ferrer.
In a dramatic and controversial final set, Djokovic broke for 1-0 before Nadal levelled in the eighth game after the Serb had been handed a time violation and then lost a point when he collided with the net as he put away a smash.
Djokovic even summoned the tournament referee onto the court to argue his case that he had been wronged by umpire Pascal Maria and continued to rage as he prepared to serve at 7-8.
Nadal pounced, moving to three match points and clinched victory when Djokovic, who ended with an ugly 75 unforced errors, hit wild and long.
World No. 4 David Ferrer started his semifinal match against Jo Wilfred Tsonga on a perfect note winning the first set 6-1 before rallying hard to win the second set 7-6 to lead the match against the Frenchman.