The 2013 French Open has proven that, in tennis, the more things change, the more they stay the same.
On one side of the men's draw, two of tennis's biggest stars outside of the Big Four, finally got their chance to play for an appearance in a grand slam final when David Ferrer and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga each advanced to the semifinal without dropping a single set.
On the other, things played out much more traditionally—with world No. 1 Novak Djokovic and Roland Garros king Rafael Nadal battling it out for a spot in the finals and Nadal, once again coming out on top. It was a fantastic match, but one with a predictable conclusion.
Now, we will get to see whether Ferrer can complete his magical run or if Nadal, the seven-time champion, will once again reign supreme.
Here's all the information you need to ensure you don't miss out on the epic finals at Roland Garros.
Where: Court Philippe Chatrier, Roland Garros, Paris, France
When: Sunday, June 9 at 9 a.m. ET
Live Stream: NBC Sports Live Extra
How They Got Here
Rafa is no stranger to the French Open finals; this will be his eighth trip there. But it wasn't always easy sledding for him this year.
According to ESPN Stats & Info, Nadal lost more games in his opening-round match against Daniel Brands than he has lost during the first four rounds of previous tournaments at Roland Garros. He faced a similar challenge in a second-round matchup with Martin Klizan, where he dropped another set.
In 1st-round win vs Daniel Brands, Rafael Nadal lost 19 games. He lost a total of 19 games in the 1st 4 rounds at last year's French Open.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 27, 2013
After the rocky start, it appeared that Nadal might be headed to an early exit for the first time since 2009 when he was eliminated in the fourth round. However, Nadal went back to doing what he does best—dominating.
Rafa went on to win three straight matches in three straight sets, including a thorough beating of No. 10 player in the world Stanislas Wawrinka to set up a semifinal showdown against Djokovic. Nadal wasn't able to dominate Djokovic, in fact, he was down 0-2 in the fifth and final set before rallying to capture the win and lock himself into another appearance in the finals.
Ferrer's road has been far less dramatic. While he's always been a little bit better than usual on clay, he has shown Nadal-like domination throughout the tournament.
The crafty challenger to Nadal's throne breezed through the first, winning every single set and 11 of those sets by a score of 6-3 or better.
David Ferrer, in case you hadn't noticed, has been awesome at RG. He leads Robredo 6-2, 4-1 (AFP) pic.twitter.com/rr8ztuFOut— Joe Fleming (@ByJoeFleming) June 4, 2013
Even after taking on Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who had not dropped a set on his way to the semifinals, Ferrer still has yet to drop one.
Nadal comes in as the big favorite in the match. According to Bovada, Rafa is a 1/11 favorite to take the match while Ferrer is a lowly 6/1 underdog.
Considering their paths to get here, that's an interesting line. Ferrer has been dominant throughout the tournament. He was briefly challenged by Tsonga in the second set of their match, but he didn't even drop the set.
On the other hand, Nadal was nearly beaten by Djokovic, but showed tremendous heart to climb back into it. His experience should give him quite the advantage. Plus, he's 16-1 against his fellow countryman on clay.
Ferrer's run has been impressive, but that kind of record against an opponent is too much to pick against.
Nadal in four sets.