4 26 2008 11932 l - Federer to clash with Nadal in Monte Carlo Masters final

Federer to clash with Nadal in Monte Carlo Masters final

MONTE CARLO: Roger Federer set up a Monte Carlo Masters final clash with defending champion Rafael Nadal for the third successive year on Saturday when Novak Djokovic retired from their semi-final because of illness.

Federer was 6-3, 3-2 ahead when his 20-year-old Serbian opponent shook hands after complaining of feeling dizzy.

Sunday's final will be the world number one's 15th career meeting with Nadal where he will attempt to prevent the French Open champion becoming the first man since 1914 from winning four successive Monte Carlo titles.

Second seed Nadal comfortably reached the final when he swept aside Russia's Nikolay Davydenko 6-3, 6-2, his 21st consecutive victory at the tournament.

Nadal also registered his 97th win in his last 98 clay court outings.

Federer, who had been just two points away from defeat in his opening match here against world 137 Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo, was under threat early having to fend off three break points in the fifth game against the Serbian.

The top seed summoned a wonderful backhand drop shot to set up a break point in the eighth game which he clinched when Djokovic went wide with a forehand.

Federer, with just seven unforced errors compared to his opponent's 15, then raced through the ninth game to take the opening set when Djokovic was again off target with an attempted down-the-line forehand.

The third seeded Serbian needed medical attention at the changeover as he complained of feeling unwell.

Federer broke to lead 2-1 but Djokovic hit back convincingly to love to go 2-2. He broke again to lead 3-2 and that was the cue for Djokovic to call it quits to a chorus of boos from a disappointed crowd.