Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal will meet in the finals of a tennis tournament for the 19th time when the two tennis stars take to the clay courts of Roland Garros on Sunday (9:00 a.m. ET / 6:00 a.m. PT) for the 2011 French Open Championship. The match will be on NBC TV with live streaming online at NBCSports.com. Even the most casual tennis fan knows about the rivalry between Federer and Nadal.
Here's the details of the long history between Nadal and Federer:
Since their first match in 2004, Federer and Nadal have played 25 times with Nadal holding a commanding 17-8 record in head-to-head meetings. On clay, Nadal is 11-2. They've meet in the finals of a tournament an amazing 19 times with Nadal winning 13 of those. They last faced each other in the semifinals at Madrid on clay this year. Rafa won 5-7, 6-1, 6-3.
Nadal has won five French Open titles with his only loss since 2005 coming in 2009, the year Federer won his only title at Roland Garros. The two have battled for the championship at seven majors with Nadal winning five, including three at the French Open. Federer beat Nadal twice in the finals at Wimbledon and Nadal won the Australian Open and took the 2008 Wimbledon from Roger.
Given that history and Nadal's dominance on this surface, we would expect the odds makers to have Rafa as the favorite in the betting lines and they do. Nadal is -250 while Federer is a +180. With those odds a $10 bet on Nadal to win earns you $4 while a $10 bet on Federer nets you $18.
To get to the finals of the 2011 French Open, Federer won six matches while only dropping one set and that was to Novak Djokovic in the Semi Finals. Nadal had a five set battle with John Isner in his first match of the tournament, but has won his remaining five in straight sets.
Federer has won an amazing 81 percent of his first serve points at the French Open and Nadal has won with his defense, tenacity and ability to turn bad position into offensive advantage. Once again, this battle is a duel between Federer's precision and artistry and Nadal's physicality and tenacity. It should be a great match...again.