So Rafael Nadal won the showdown – in four sets – and beat the best player in the world to go through to the French Open final. 2005 could turn into Roger Federer’s annus horrilbilis – win lots of titles on the tour, lose all the slams, which is a bit like Lendl in the early years. If he loses at Wimbledon…<br />
Is Nadal that good? Yes and no. Federer played worse as the match wore on, with his forehand breaking down and first serve going on holiday. Nadal kept his level up, but played better in previous matches. By the end, Federer looked angry and confused with his game. You could see him thinking “Ball – over there. NO! Not there. Damn, I’m better than this.”<br />
So will Nadal win the final? Probably, but as it’s his first time in a slam final (let alone semi) he might get stage-fright. I doubt it though. His opponent, the unseeded Puerta, is also in new territory, but could (and should) just go for broke. If he loses, no-one will be surprised. Nadal in four.