World number one Roger Federer faces Rafael Nadal in Sunday's men's final in a match that raises some interesting facts.

French Open
Postcard from Roland: It's all over
11/06/2006 AT 20:13

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The top seed is one match away from claiming his first French Open title, a victory that would put the Swiss player above Pete Sampras, who owns an amazing fourteen Grand Slams, but not a single Roland Garros.

On Friday Federer played his eighth consecutive Grand Slam semi-final, a winning streak he started at Wimbledon back in 2004. Since the start of the era only Ivan Lendl has done better, with ten Grand Slam semi-finals on the bounce, played between 1985 and 1988.

Moreover, on Sunday Federer will play his fourth consecutive final in the Grand Slam. Only two players have been able to achieve this feat before him since the beginning of the Open era: Rod Laver, taking the Grand Slam in 1969, and Andre Agassi who played successive finals at Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the US Open in 1999, and the Australian Open in 2000. He won three of them, at Roland Garros, the US Open and the Australian Open but lost in Wimbledon.

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Whilst he boasts seven Grand Slam titles, Federer is of course still dreaming of becoming the sixth player in history to claim all four trophies.

The five who have already achieved this feat are Andre Agassi, Donald Budge, Roy Emerson, Rod Laver and Fred Perry. But only Budge (1938) and Laver, twice (1962 and 1969), were able to accomplish this within one calendar year.


What is it with women and the Court Philippe Chatrier?

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First, it was the scoreboard, which broke down for the second women's semi-final on Friday.

Then, on Saturday, one of the balls which Svetlana Kuznetsova was serving with broke before even tossing it in the air during the first game of the final against Justine Henin-Hardenne.

And last, but by no means least, the deejay charged with spinning the Belgian national anthem for Henin-Hardenne missed his cue, putting the disc on late, resulting in confusion and an attempt by the newly crowned champion to sing it herself!


Guess who were awarded best players last year?

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Each year, the ITF presents its annual party and during the festivities, awards are given to the best players of the previous year.

Roger Federer took the men's singles gong, with the women's equivalent going to Kim Clijsters. Bob and Mike Bryan were voted the best men's doubles players and Lisa Raymond and Samantha Stosur won the award in the women's doubles category.


It's not often that the top two seeds of a Grand Slam meet in a final. And it's all the more surprising when it's at the French Open; indeed, the last time it happened was way back in 1984. At that time Ivan Lendl beat John McEnroe in five sets, in one of the most memorable finals ever witnessed at Roland Garros.

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Svetlana Kuznetsova, whose father is a professional cycling trainer:

"Before I was a tennis player, I knew Paris for the Tour de France. I've only discovered Roland Garros the day I played at the Junior tournament for the first time."


14 - Since last year's semi-final, when he lost to Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer has played 14 tournaments, and played 14 finals.

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