Rafael Nadal matched Roger Federer's record of 20 grand slam singles titles and secured a 100th match victory at the French Open as he thrashed Novak Djokovic in the Roland Garros final.

A 6-0 6-2 7-5 defeat of the world number one gave Nadal a 13th major on the Paris clay, extending his own record for the most titles won by a player at a single grand slam.

It also meant that for the fourth time he went through the entire draw without dropping a set.

The career of the great Spaniard invites close examination to fully appreciate the prowess that has seen him run up such astonishing numbers.

Here is how he has staked a strong claim to be regarded among the greatest tennis players of all time - and unquestionably the king of clay.

DREAM DEBUT TO SERIAL THRILLER

Nadal turned 19 two days before winning his first French Open title, which came in 2005, on his debut appearance in the tournament.

His record on the Roland Garros clay shows Nadal has now won an astonishing 100 matches and lost only twice, with Robin Soderling and Djokovic the only men to defeat him. Djokovic sits second on the list in Paris, with 74 wins.

Of those 100 wins for Nadal, an incredible 81 have come without him dropping a set, 17 have come in four sets, and on two occasions he has won in five.

He has had 27 victories against players ranked inside the top 10 during his century of French successes and has never lost when he has reached the semi-final stage.

Sunday's win was a seventh for Nadal in eight Roland Garros clashes with Djokovic, and a third success in a French Open final against the Serbian after their 2012 and 2014 title matches.

In the men's game, Federer had been the only man to rack up 100 or more match wins in a single grand slam prior to Nadal joining him.

The Swiss veteran has won 102 matches at the Australian Open and 101 at Wimbledon.

ANOTHER LANDMARK LOOMING

Nadal has now moved to 999 career wins across all tournaments, with 201 defeats, and has captured 86 titles.

In the titles reckoning he sits fourth in the Open Era (behind Jimmy Connors' 109, Federer's 103 and Ivan Lendl's 94). A startling 60 of those titles from Nadal have come on clay.

Mallorca's favourite son has been a fixture in the top 10 on the ATP Tour since first breaking through to that level in April 2005 and has spent 209 weeks at world number one, a position he last occupied before last year's Australian Open.

He has won one Australian Open title, 13 now in Paris, two at Wimbledon and four at the US Open.

NADAL THE G.O.A.T.?

It still feels too early to make a call on which of the Big Three will be remembered as the greatest of all time, or more specifically of their era.

They each own a host of astounding records, but if all three were to finish their careers with 20 grand slams, which is not beyond the realms of possibility, then one tie-breaker might be their head-to-heads in the grand slams.

Nadal can point to a 10-4 winning record against Federer in the four majors, and now a 10-6 lead over Djokovic.

Before Sunday, he had lost his last three grand slam clashes with the man from Belgrade, but Nadal will now take some reining in.

Rafael Nadal equalled Roger Federer's record of 20 grand slam men's singles titles with his latest stunning French Open victory over Novak Djokovic on Sunday.

Nadal's remarkable record of Roland Garros success continued courtesy of an astonishing 6-0 6-2 7-5 win against the world number one on Philippe Chatrier.

Thirteen of the Spaniard's major triumphs have come on the red clay in Paris, where he has lost only twice - never in a final and not at all since the last eight in 2015 against Djokovic.

A 999th top-level victory and 100th at this event never looked to be in doubt as Nadal seized control from the outset to win the French Open without dropping a set across the tournament for the fourth time.

This was just Djokovic's second defeat of the season but came in a far more clinical manner than the first, when he was defaulted from the US Open for striking a line judge with the ball.

Djokovic - a 17-time grand slam champion - had swiftly sought to put Nadal to work with a series of drop shots, but the defending champion responded in typically masterful fashion and raced into a two-break lead in the opener.

Although the sort of brave defence so often associated with Djokovic was again on display, prompting some staggering rallies, he could not make significant progress against the Nadal serve and subsequently collapsed from 40-0 up on his own.

The Serbian deserved better than a first-set bagel - the first in a men's major final since 2006 - yet soon trailed again in the second, sending a tired forehand into the net at the end of another draining game.

Djokovic puffed out his cheeks as Nadal refused to relent, breaking once more and coasting through the remainder of another straightforward set to bring the Musketeers' Cup firmly into view.

The top seed dug in at the start of the third and even quickly recovered to level the set after a meek break to love granted Nadal complete command.

Djokovic's renewed resilience briefly kept his opponent at bay, but a contentious double-fault proved the decisive blow and Nadal served out the championship to love with an ace to match Federer, a man five years his senior who has not won an ATP Tour event in 2020 and continues to recover from arthroscopic knee surgery.

Margaret Court's overall record of 24 singles major championships is surely now in the king of clay's sights.


Data Slam: Stunning start sets the tone

For much of the 48-minute opening set, Djokovic gave as good as he got. But Nadal dominated in key areas - Djokovic's first serve was at 42 per cent, while he won just three of 18 short rallies - to result in a one-sided scoreline. Only twice has this rivalry produced a 6-0 set, the other coming as Nadal also raced into a lead in last year's Internazionali d'Italia final.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Nadal – 31/14
Djokovic – 38/52

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Nadal – 4/1
Djokovic – 1/4

BREAK POINTS WON
Nadal – 7/18
Djokovic – 1/5

Rafael Nadal dominated Novak Djokovic 6-0 6-2 7-5 in the French Open final on Sunday to tie Roger Federer's record of 20 grand slam titles.

French Open champion Iga Swiatek has set her sights on becoming the consistent major winner women's tennis has been lacking over recent years.

The unseeded Pole capped a remarkable fortnight at Roland Garros by claiming the title on Saturday with a win over Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin in the final.

Supreme Swiatek did not drop a single set over seven rounds, also accounting for tournament favourite Simona Halep and 2019 finalist Marketa Vondrousova along the way.

The 19-year-old looks destined for a bright future and, once she has enjoyed her success, will look to remain a force on the WTA Tour.

With 23-time major winner Serena Williams having not won a grand slam since the 2017 Australian Open, the women's game has not seen a group of players dominate in the way Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic have on the men's side.

"I know my game isn't developed perfectly," the world number 54 said after her 6-4 6-1 win over Kenin in the final.

"I think the biggest change for me is going to be to be consistent, this is what women's tennis is struggling with. 

"That's why we have so many new grand slam winners because we are not as consistent as Rafa, Roger and Novak. That's why my goal is going to be to be consistent. 

"It's going to be really hard to achieve that. Right now, when I'm here and I'm a grand slam champion, it's crazy. I'm just going to enjoy the moment and I'm going to think about my future goals later.

"I'm just proud of myself. I've done a great job the past two weeks. I wasn't expecting to win this trophy. It's obviously amazing for me. I just feel like I kind of made history.

"I know that there are no limits. Even though you're really young and you're an underdog, you can do a lot in a sport like tennis."

Swiatek revealed her unbelievable 6-1 6-2 fourth-round win over former champion Halep felt like such a big accomplishment that she was able to play her final three matches free of pressure.

Her focus on having the right mentality on court has also helped her to seemingly play without nerves, as she coolly handled her run to victory despite having never made the last eight of a major before.

"Actually, it was so crazy for me winning against Simona that I already thought about the tournament as like my lifetime achievement," Swiatek explained.

"Really, I had no expectations. I knew it's going to be tough in the final. I didn't want to stress a lot about it, so I just told myself that I don't care and I tried to believe in that. 

"In the end I really just enjoyed the moment. It's not that I don't care if I'm going to win or lose, I'm just not thinking about it all the time. 

"I use visualisation. I meditate, especially during breaks during match. You ask what is the role of sports psychology in the performance, and I think there is a huge role. 

"I can see the difference when I'm mentally prepared and I'm ready to handle the stress, the pressure. I can see the difference where I can't. That's why I'm sometimes losing in first round and sometimes I can win a tournament. 

"My next goal is going to be more consistent and use the skills I have every time because it's also tiring for your mind."

Sofia Kenin confirmed a leg injury hindered her significantly in her French Open final defeat to Iga Swiatek, to a stage where she could barely move in the second set.

The Australian Open champion was denied a second grand slam title of 2020 when unseeded teenager Swiatek triumphed 6-4 6-1 at Roland Garros on Saturday.

Kenin received heavy strapping to her left thigh during a medical time-out in the final and revealed she had been dealing with an issue throughout the second week of the tournament.

Asked how she felt after falling at the last hurdle, the American said: "First of all, obviously a little bit disappointed and upset.

"She obviously played a really good match. She's really hot right now, playing some really great tennis. 

"I'm not going to use this as an excuse, but my leg obviously was not the best. It's obviously disappointing. I've got to get some rest and hopefully my leg will get better.

"I've had it for a few of my matches. I've had to tape. I saw the physio and everything, so I was doing everything I can. 

"Today obviously after the first set I just felt it was so tight, I couldn't move. That's why I had to call the trainer. It just got worse. It is quite unfortunate it had to happen in this match. 

"I can't remember when it happened. First two matches were fine. I think it was maybe third match I already had it taped or fourth round. I don't remember exactly. 

"I've had this in the past, but not quite often. I'm obviously working well on my fitness - it's not such a problem that I have. I always used to get it taped on my left abductor. 

"Obviously it's expected that it's a little bit sore, given the circumstances, how many matches I played, three-setters. On clay it's very physical. You have to move and slide a lot."

Kenin praised the way Swiatek, who showed few signs of nerves in her first major final, served and dictated play on her forehand.

She added: "Like I said, she played really well. All credit to her. 

"A few things just didn't go my way. Then, yeah, unfortunately my leg wasn't in the best condition, I guess.

"I'm not going to [the WTA event in] Ostrava, given my leg. I have to rest and I had a great run here.

"It sucks the season is over for us. I really wish there were more tournaments. I'm going to use this time to get my leg rested and everything, and, yeah, start pre-season."

Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski has expressed his delight after Iga Swiatek ended Poland's long wait for a singles grand slam champion.

Swiatek, 19, capped a stunning fortnight at Roland Garros with a 6-4 6-1 win over Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin in the Paris final on Saturday.

The unseeded player did not drop a set over her seven rounds, other notable wins including an emphatic victory over tournament favourite Simona Halep in the fourth round and seeing off the 2019 finalist, Marketa Vondrousova, in her first match.

Just two years ago she had won the junior title at Wimbledon and prior to this tournament had never reached the last eight of a tennis major.

Her run to victory captured the attention of Lewandowski, another of Poland's sporting success stories.

"What an amazing success, what a great story! Good job Iga Swiatek," Lewandowski wrote on Twitter after the win over Kenin, having also sent a message of support earlier this week.

Swiatek had earlier referenced the traction her run at the event had been getting in her country.

"I want to thank all the fans and everyone watching in Poland; I know it's pretty crazy back home," she said in her on-court interview.

Swiatek was later asked in her news conference if she understood her life was about to change.

She added: "That's true. I mean, it's hard to comment on that right now because I need to come back home first, see what's going on in Poland.

"I know it's going to be crazy. I think I'm going to get used to that, it's not going to be a problem for me. I didn't have a problem with getting attention, with people surrounding me.

"I think it's going to be okay for me. I really appreciate all the support I got during the whole two weeks.

"Even though I wasn't on my phone and I wasn't answering every person, I know that the whole country was behind me and they all believed in me. I'm going to be happy and proud."

Poland captain Lewandowski, who was recently named UEFA Player of the Year, will be hoping to cap a fine sporting weekend for the nation when his team host Italy in the Nations League on Sunday.

Iga Swiatek said her French Open triumph was "crazy" as the 19-year-old became Poland's first grand slam singles champion.

Her junior Wimbledon title two years ago has been followed by Swiatek beginning to make an impact on the women's tour, but she arrived in Paris as a major outsider for this fortnight.

Ranked 54th in the world, the unseeded teenager performed way above that status and crushed the hopes of Sofia Kenin in the final, beating the Australian Open champion 6-4 6-1 on Court Philippe-Chatrier.

Becoming Poland's first champion at the clay-court grand slam left Swiatek bewildered.

"I don't know what's going on," she said. "I'm so happy. I'm so glad my family was here finally and I don't know, it's crazy.

"Two years ago I won a junior grand slam and I'm now here, it feels like such a short time, I'm just overwhelmed. Thank you all for cheering, it was a great final.

"I was mentally consistent, I wanted to play better than the last rounds, today was stressful but I don't know what made the difference. I won the match."

Kenin needed a medical timeout in the second set and the American was perhaps inhibited, but Swiatek ruthlessly charged to the winning line before sparing a thought for her opponent.

"Basically, I hope you're okay," she said, addressing Kenin. "I don't know if you're injured, you made a great job in this tournament. I don't know if there's a chance you played better without injury."

Swiatek lowered her face mask to kiss the trophy - the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen - at the presentation, and she might be a player who wins multiple grand slams in the future, having looked so impressive at this tournament.

"Maybe it just had to be like that, another underdog won a grand slam in tennis, women's tennis is like that right now - it's crazy!" Swiatek added.

Watching Rafael Nadal dominate the men's event in Paris has inspired her.

"I was watching every year how Rafa lifted the trophy," Swiatek said. "It's crazy I'm in the same place. I want to thank all the fans and everyone watching in Poland; I know it's pretty crazy back home."

Swiatek's father, Tomasz, competed in rowing for Poland at the 1988 Seoul Olympics and has been a driving force in her own sporting career.

He was at courtside and Swiatek ventured into the crowd to hug all of her team at the end of the final.

"Basically he just taught me how to be a professional," she said. "It's hard to describe but he raised me in that way that I feel pretty confident on court.

"It's hard to get my thoughts together, but he gave us everything."

Becoming emotional and searching for the right words, she added: "Sorry, it's hard to say it, but I love him."

Kenin spoke briefly, saying: "I just want to congratulate Iga on a great tournament and a great match. You played really well and congratulations to your team.

"I would like to thank the crowd - it was good to see you guys with this whole pandemic."

Teenager Iga Swiatek capped a remarkable fortnight at Roland Garros by destroying Sofia Kenin in straight sets to claim the French Open title.

The 19-year-old has been the story of the final grand slam of 2020, with her dominant victory over 2018 champion Simona Halep in the fourth round announcing her as a legitimate contender for the crown.

A clash with reigning Australian Open champion Kenin looked an extremely enticing final but, after a frenetic first set, it turned into a one-sided affair as Swiatek eased to a 6-4 6-1 victory over the ailing American, who received heavy strapping to her left thigh during a medical timeout.

Swiatek did not drop a set in the tournament and never lost more than five games in a match, becoming the first Pole to win a grand slam singles title.

A statement of intent came early from Swiatek as she held to love in the first game and raced into a 3-0 lead, only for Kenin to produce a demonstration of her quality by erasing that deficit with three successive games of her own.

Swiatek broke again in an engrossing eighth game that featured a 19-shot rally and five deuces. Kenin immediately responded as both players struggled to hold serve, but an errant crosscourt backhand gave the set to Swiatek.

Kenin looked in the mood to force a decider when a tremendous forehand return gave her a break in the opening game of the second, only for Swiatek to produce a swift reply and then hold for a 2-1 lead.

The break in play for the medical time-out only served to help Swiatek, who broke again when Kenin went wide with a double-handed backhand.

Swiatek continued to grow in confidence as the finish line drew nearer and her reward for a performance defined by precision, stern defence and exquisite use of the drop shot was secured with a forehand winner that saw her sink to her knees in disbelief at her incredible achievement.

 
Data Slam: Net gains key for Swiatek

The tactic of using the drop shot against Kenin – clearly nursing an injury to her thigh – worked to perfection, with its success reflected by the fact Swiatek won all but one of her seven net points. Fourth seed Kenin soon ran out of answers for Swiatek's versatile game and committed 23 unforced errors.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
Swiatek – 25/17
Kenin – 10/23

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
Swiatek – 1/3
Kenin – 1/3

BREAK POINTS WON
Swiatek – 6/9
Kenin – 3/3

Teenager Iga Swiatek capped a remarkable fortnight at Roland Garros, destroying Sofia Kenin 6-4 6-1 to claim the French Open title in Paris.

Novak Djokovic is relishing what he believes could be the biggest challenge in sport of facing his "greatest rival" Rafael Nadal in the French Open final on Sunday.

Top seed Djokovic overcame a Stefanos Tsitsipas fightback to win the second semi-final 6-3 6-2 5-7 4-6 6-1 at Roland Garros on Friday after Nadal beat Diego Schwartzman in straight sets.

The world number one will do battle with 12-time French Open champion Nadal in a mouth-watering clash of the titans on Court Philippe-Chatrier this weekend.

Djokovic has won 29 of the 55 meetings between two of the all-time greats, while the Serb and Robin Soderling are the only players to have beaten the Spaniard in the Paris grand slam.

Nadal has never lost a final at a major he has dominated, and Djokovic is well aware of the size of the challenge he will face when he attempts to deny the 'King of Clay' a record-equalling 20th grand slam triumph.

Djokovic, a winner of 17 majors but only one at Roland Garros in 2016, said in his on-court interview: "It's his [Nadal's] home. And with all the titles he's won. But I remember I beat him in the quarter-finals in 2015.

"I hope to recover. It's the biggest challenge, perhaps in sport, to play Nadal here at Roland Garros but I am motivated to win."

Asked to elaborate on those comments in his news conference, Djokovic replied: "Well, isn't it obvious? He won this tournament so many times that I don't think any player has won that many times any tournament.

"He's lost twice in his entire career on this court. Obviously the conditions are different than the ones that we are used to playing in May and June. I think that could be a better chance for me, obviously the ball not bouncing as high over the shoulder as he likes it usually.

"Regardless of the conditions, he's still there, he's Rafa, he's in the final and we're playing on clay. Best-of-five playing him in the finals at Roland Garros, I know that feeling. I did lose to him on this court most of the matches that we played, but I also won one match in 2015 in straight sets in quarters.

"That's the match that I'll look back at and obviously try to take some positives out of it and use it tactically against him. I'm not feeling exhausted physically so much after tonight's match, obviously almost four hours. It was a great battle.

"But I feel fine. I think a day and a half will be plenty of time for me to recover. I'm really looking forward to a great battle with Rafa."

Djokovic added: "I've played him more than I played any other player in my professional career. I think our head-to-head is the biggest head-to-head ever in the history of the sport.

"He's definitely my greatest rival. Playing him in so many great matches, of course the past will have some effect in terms of respect towards each other, I guess motivation to get out on the court and play your best, knowing that we both have to be at our best in order to win against each other.

"So I think that's where the past will play its offensive line. Not more than that, to be honest, because I think we are both experienced enough to really approach matches like this focusing only what is ahead of us."

Rafael Nadal's history with Novak Djokovic makes Sunday's French Open final between the pair a mouth-watering prospect, but the Spaniard insists his focus will be on bringing his 'A' game.

Djokovic is one of only two players to defeat Nadal at Roland Garros and he awaits in a dream Paris showdown after the pair came through their semi-finals - the latter after a five-set slog with Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Nadal, who was up first and beat Diego Schwartzman to advance to his 13th French Open final, spoke ahead of Djokovic's win.

Asked if his previous run-ins with the Serbian would play a part in this weekend's tussle, Nadal said: "I don't think so. Different circumstances, different kind of tournament and different situation. I don't know. 

"I will let you know on Sunday. I can't predict the future. The only thing I know is to play against Novak, I need to play my best. 

"Without playing my best tennis, the situation is very difficult. I know that is a court that I have been playing well for such a long time, so that helps. 

"But at the same time, he has an amazing record here, too, being in the final rounds almost every single time. He is one of the toughest opponents possible. 

"I am here to keep trying my best. I like to play in this scenario. I know I have to make a step forward. I think I did one today. 

"But for Sunday it is not enough. I need to make another one. That's what I'm looking for. I'm going to work hard to try to make that happen."

Novak Djokovic will face Rafael Nadal in Sunday's French Open final after battling past Stefanos Tsitsipas in five sets.

With the upper-body issues that hampered his quarter-final win over Pablo Carreno Busta apparently behind him, the world number one still had to dig deep in Friday's semi-final to see off Tsitsipas, who had won 27 matches this year and had looked imperious against Andrey Rublev in the previous round.

Tsitsipas rallied from match point down in the third set to force Djokovic to go the distance in his quest to reach a first grand slam final, but the 17-time major winner wrestled momentum back to claim a 6-3 6-2 5-7 4-6 6-1 victory.

The 33-year-old, who is 216-1 in grand slam matches after winning the first two sets, eventually completed the job after three hours and 54 minutes as he set up a meeting with old foe Nadal in what will be his 27th major final.

Djokovic saved four break points in the opening game before moving 4-1 ahead and again held off a stern challenge on serve to make it 5-2 on Court Philippe-Chatrier.

The 2016 champion's drop shot appeared on point, with two more in game nine helping him close out the opening set despite one or two loose groundstrokes.

Tsitsipas was arguably playing the better tennis by the early stages of the second set, but it was Djokovic who was producing the goods at the key points. Some remarkable defensive work and a brilliant cross-court backhand winner saw him set up just his second break point after trailing 0-40, and he took it when Tsitsipas skied a forehand after a net cord.

He consolidated to move 4-2 ahead and got the double break when Tsitsipas swung a forehand into the tramlines, serving out the set with back-to-back aces to assume control of the match.

Djokovic had match point on serve at 5-4 in the third but Tsitsipas suddenly struck back, at last getting a break of his own and then snatching the set with a ferocious forehand that clipped the baseline.

By now, it was Tsitsipas who was under siege on serve and Djokovic who could not make the breakthrough. He saw 10 break points come and go before sending a drop shot into the net at set point down as the contest entered an unlikely decider.

Djokovic at last broke the resistance early in the fifth, a dead-eyed drop shot and then a strangely errant service game from Tsitsipas giving the Serbian a double break. A third match point proved enough for the number one seed, a downcast Tsitsipas watching a second serve slapped beyond his reach.

Iga Swiatek has made the bold, charmingly teenage claim that she doesn't care whether she wins or loses Saturday's French Open final.

On the day before the biggest match of her life against Sofia Kenin, the Polish 19-year-old had a gentle reality check when her hopes of a twin triumph in Paris were scotched.

Until she and Nicole Melichar were beaten in the semi-finals of the doubles on Friday, sliding 7-6 (7-5) 1-6 6-4 to Alexa Guarachi and Desirae Krawczyk, this had been a fortnight where the former Wimbledon girls' champion appeared unbeatable.

Swiatek has remarkably dropped just 23 games in six singles matches, the fewest by a French Open finalist since Mary Pierce lost only 10 games while sprinting to the 1994 title match.

She is being heralded a new superstar of tennis, and can joins the ranks of teenage grand slam winners at Roland Garros, a passport to prosperity. In the Open Era, there have been 13 previous teenage women's singles champions at majors.

But amid the attention, the player who chewed up top seed and title favourite Simona Halep in the fourth round is taking each experience in her stride, guided by a travelling sports psychologist in Daria Abramowicz.

And Swiatez is impervious, it seems, to not only the scale of her achievement but the stakes involved.

"I don't care if I'm going to lose or win. I'm going to just play my best tennis," she said. "The final is also a great result, so really I have no pressure."

Her casual dismissiveness is of course not simply down to the insouciance of youth, and can perhaps be most closely traced to the work she and Abramowicz put in, taking the stress out of situations.

"I don't know how I made the decision when I was younger, but I always wanted to work with a psychologist," Swiatek said. "I had this belief that it's like a big part of the game. But my parents, they weren't as open to that as I was."

Hers is a joyous game to behold, a mix of blistering power and trickery that has made her the favourite for the match with many observers, despite Kenin having won the Australian Open at the start of the year.

Swiatek's world ranking of 54 makes no sense in the context of this fortnight, and it will take a major leap forward next week.

She, Kenin and the likes of Naomi Osaka, who won the US Open last month, are faces who can shape the future of women's tennis.

And with the men's tennis Big Three approaching their dotage, the women's game could see the sort of boon, with real rivalries between grand slam winners, that it has arguably lacked for some time.

Pam Shriver, the great former doubles partner of Martina Navratilova, senses there is the potential for an exciting new dynamic.

Looking ahead to the clash of Swiatek and 21-year-old American Kenin, Shriver said: "We're always wondering where the next great rivalry is going to be. Well, let's just wonder about this one because they are two years apart."

Shriver expressed an eagerness to find out how Saturday's match-up plays out.

"If Swiatek's forehand holds up in the pressure of a major final, that's what is going to give her the best chance," Shriver said in an interview for the Roland Garros website.

"Swiatek has an edge on the forehands. Kenin has shored up her forehand so much the last two years but it can still go a bit wobbly.

"But I guess we know how Kenin shows up in major finals and big matches because she did in Melbourne."

If Swiatek has any concerns, it centres on how her relaxed attitude might be tested by the sense of occasion, should she allow her mind to drift towards its significance.

For one thing, she is the first Polish woman in the Open Era to reach the French Open singles final. Her country has never had a grand slam singles champion.

"Usually I'm that kind of player who is playing better under pressure. If I'm not going to choke up, I think everything will be fine," Swiatek said.

"But, well, there's a reason why I was so efficient. Really I'm staying super focused. I'm not letting my opponents to play their best tennis. So I hope I'm going to do that on Saturday."

Rafael Nadal advanced to his 13th French Open final as he maintained his perfect record in the last four at Roland Garros with a straight-sets victory over Diego Schwartzman.

The Spaniard had never been beaten in the semi-finals of the clay-court grand slam, which he has won a record 12 times, though Schwartzman was the only man to have defeated him on his favoured surface this year.

Any hopes of a repeat of the Argentine's win in Rome last month were soon dashed, though, as Schwartzman failed to hold in the first two games of an opening set that went on for over an hour before Nadal emerged victorious.

The world number two was just as dominant in the next set and, despite a topsy-turvy third, Nadal won 6-3 6-3 7-6 (7-0) to leave him one win from a record-equalling 20th grand slam.

Schwartzman had a break point on two occasions in Nadal's opening game but, after 14 minutes, the second seed held and soon moved 2-0 up.

Another break of serve then followed, but Nadal again hit back and went on to seize the set at the third time of asking.

Schwartzman played the shot of the match with an unfathomable chopped forehand winner down the line in the next set, but it was only a mere highlight as Nadal refused to let up, a second break putting him one set from victory.

Nadal has never lost when two sets up on clay but, after forging ahead in the third with a break, he failed to hold in successive service games, with two untimely unforced errors in the latter game giving Schwartzman a glimmer of hope.

The 12th seed had three break points to move 6-5 up but Nadal closed the door each time, and it was the favourite who showed a killer instinct in the tie-break to tee up a final against either Novak Djokovic or Stefanos Tsitsipas.

"I know against Diego it's very difficult until the end," Nadal said on court afterwards. 

"He's one of the players that makes more breaks [than anyone on] the tour. 

"Three weeks ago, I lost in Rome so I expected a very tough match. I'm happy with the way I played, I think I have been improving."

Sofia Kenin plans to use her experience of playing in a grand slam final to her advantage when she battles it out with Iga Swiatek for the French Open title on Saturday.

Fourth seed Kenin produced a magnificent performance to beat Petra Kvitova 6-4 7-5 on Court Philippe-Chatrier and reach the decider at Roland Garros for the first time.

Unseeded Polish teenager Swiatek stands in the way of the 21-year-old American and a second major triumph, just over eight months after she was crowned Australian Open champion.

Swiatek had never been beyond the fourth round of a grand slam before arriving in Paris, but the 19-year-old has not dropped a set in the tournament.

Kenin, who lost to Swiatek in the juniors four years ago, feels her exploits in Melbourne can give her the edge this weekend.

She said: "I'm going to use that as my advantage. Yeah, I'm definitely going to feel a bit nervous coming into the final. I've been there, done that.

"I know what the emotions are getting into your first grand slam final. I'm hoping she's going to be a little bit nervous.

"But, yeah, I know what to expect, so I really hope it's going to go well for me."

Kenin thinks she is playing the best tennis of her fledgling career after finding it tough to get motivated when the WTA Tour was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"I didn't have really motivation when I knew that everything is shut down," the world number six said. "It took some time for me to get my motivation back. I finally got it.

"I feel like I'm playing the best tennis right now, as well. I was playing really well in Australia. Now I feel like I'm playing as good or even better.

"[I] Cannot complain with how things are going for me. I'm just really grateful."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.