All-Spaniard showdown in Paris

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Who will win the French Open men's final?

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RAFAEL NADAL
DAVID FERRER

Can't argue with Rafa's numbers

Wilansky By Matt Wilansky
ESPN.com
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Mr. Garber, you might recall our cabbie's rendition of Simon & Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Water" as we dashed by the red, green and blue South African-themed Eiffel Tower earlier this week. And, for the record, your background harmony wasn't horrendous. After another long day on the grounds, the weirdness of it all was kind of soothing.

Speaking of the sounds of the '70s, let's not waste any time cuing up the obligatory "We Are the Champions" for Rafael Nadal on Sunday. And if you're not ready to concede quite yet, let's crunch the numbers, shall we?

If you haven't heard, Nadal is a seven-time champ here. That's a record.

Even though Nadal didn't return to the ATP this year until after the Aussie Open, he has 42 wins this season. That's the best on tour.

He will pass Bjorn Borg by winning his 12th Slam. That's remarkable.

His record at the French Open is 58-1, a 98.3 winning percentage. That's stupid (you know, the good kind of stupid).

Against his finals opponent, David Ferrer, Rafa is 19-4. Uh, hello.

I know what you're thinking: Rafa might have some tired legs after Novak Djokovic harassed him for 4 hours and 37 minutes in the semifinals. And there's something to that. But there's a reason Nadal is a serial Slam champ and Ferrer is, well, Ferrer, as much as we love the little fella. In sports parlance, we call it adversity -- or rather, overcoming adversity.

With the exception of his 2009 hiccup, Nadal never had had to labor through his matches at Roland Garros the way he has this year. He dropped the opening two sets in each of his first two matches and had some tense moments in his third against your favorite, Fabio Fognini. Nadal lost 87 games en route to the final, the most he has ever dropped in one tournament here in Paris. But the fact that he pulled those out and then straightened out his game thereafter speaks to his unrelenting resolve.

Nadal is a few Slams shy of not just being mentioned among the all-time greats but being the all-time great. He isn't going to let Ferrer and a little fatigue get in his way.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, Mr. Garber, but, come Sunday, Ferrer is going to be in deep, deep water. Make that troubled water.

Ferrer has fresher legs

Garber By Greg Garber
ESPN.com
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PARIS -- I have always been an eternal optimist, Mr. Wilansky. In my mind, elephants always have the capacity to fly.

Of course, maybe that's just my Disney training…

I always root for the underdog -- in life, in movies, in sporting events. And, though we're sharing here, I usually root for you to write coherent sentences with few clichés -- even if history suggests I might be wasting my time.

This is why I love watching Michael Russell, Fabio Fognini and David Ferrer play tennis.

No, Ferrer hasn't won a Grand Slam singles title like that Rafa guy you are backing. He's into only his very first major final in his 42nd Grand Slam event. That's 10 appearances more than the guy -- Kim Warwick -- who is next in line.

I know the victory over Tsonga wasn't exactly impressive, but a win is a win. The Frenchman was probably feeling the heat as he tried to become the first French finalist here in 25 years. But Ferrer won the match more than Tsonga lost it.

As you say, there is the time on the court to consider. In six matches here, Rafa's been out there for nearly 17 hours. That sounds like a good week for you at the Bristol office. Ferrer is under 11.

That's the good news. I will concede that the head-to-head is not ideal. Rafa has taken his fellow Spaniard to task 19 times in the 23 matches they've played. But there is a silver lining.

Did you know Ferrer has the second-most Grand Slam match wins of any Spanish player? Didn't think so. Rafa is No. 1. But Ferrer is ahead of Juan Carlos Ferrero (who won this thing in 2003), Tommy Robredo and Manuel Santana.

To review, I'll take Ferrer in a miracle long shot -- and Dumbo will lead the parade in Spain.

Troubled water?