Nadal and Wawrinka set for mouth-watering showdown

A couple of other numbers: Nadal is 78-2 for his career at Roland Garros, and 101-2 anywhere in best-of-five-set matches on red clay.

2005 - Won the French Open on his debut in 2005 and a year later beat Roger Federer in the final for his second title.

Rafael Nadal the victor then, with a tenth French Open crown in just 13 years as the tennis world now turns its collective attention to the grass-court season and Wimbledon. It has been very special to me, and it's true that it is unprecedented.

"I'm a little emotional", Nadal said before his tearful uncle Toni, his career-long coach who will take a back seat at the end of the year, handed him La Coupe des Mousquetaires. "It is the most important event in my career, to win again here is impossible to describe". The nerves, the adrenaline that I feel when I play in this court is impossible to compare. Nadal then proceeded to bury Wawrinka 6-3 to put himself one set away from another title. It is hard to compare this tournament to any other one.

Fourth-seeded Rafael Nadal of Spain is facing No. 3 Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland on Court Philippe Chatrier.

"I think today, if you play Rafa, if you're not completely free with what you think and what you're gonna do and not completely relaxed the way you're gonna play, you have no chance".

“You are a great example and its always been an honour to play against you.”.

"The feeling that I have here is impossible to describe and is hard to compare to other places", Nadal said, struggling to contain his emotions. "For me to be here for many years is hard to describe".

But the 32-year-old, the oldest Roland Garros finalist in 44 years, had no answers as Nadal eclipsed Pete Sampras on the all-time list of major champions with 15 titles.

Just before the Spaniard won the second set, Wawrinka looked frustrated with his performance and ended up smashing his racket on the ground before bending it with his knee completely. He played to a 3-0 lead in the second set before Wawrinka notched his first game of that set.

Wawrinka, to his credit, fought tooth and nail to avoid another break at 3-1 down in the third but once more the unrelenting pressure told.

Third seed Wawrinka, the 2015 champion who had won all his three previous grand slam finals, was gracious in defeat. - Nadal, during the trophy ceremony.

The 31-year-old Nadal was overwhelmingly good from start to finish against Wawrinka. "So many reason made that score today, but mainly because he was playing better".

102 - The Spaniard has won 102 best-of-five-set matches on clay, with his only losses coming here to Robin Soderling in 2009 and against Novak Djokovic in 2014.

First game of the third set and Nadal broke again as the man who stunned him in the 2014 Australian Open final suffered further damage.

Vanessa Coleman