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Nadal, Federer reach Monte Carlo final

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MONTE CARLO, Monaco — Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal will meet in the Monte Carlo Masters final for the third straight year.

Federer advanced from his semifinal Saturday when third-seeded Novak Djokovic retired when trailing 6-3, 3-2. Nadal beat Nikolay Davydenko 6-3, 6-2 to reach his fourth straight final.

Nadal is the three-time defending champion and has not lost a set in the clay-court tournament since beating Federer in the 2006 final.

Djokovic called for a trainer at the end of the first set and then shook hands with the top-ranked Swiss player after losing his serve in the fifth game of the second.

"From the start I didn't feel so great," Djokovic said, complaining of dizziness.

Davydenko's clever angles and ability to sustain rallies troubled Nadal, but the Russian was unable to take advantage of his opportunities, converting only one of five break points. Nadal broke Davydenko five times in seven chances.

"Every point is a long rally," Davydenko said. "Nadal is very tough, physically he is in a top condition."

The Spaniard won the match when Davydenko's attempt at a forehand winner went long.

Nadal's last defeat at Monte Carlo came in the third round against Guillermo Coria five years ago. The Spaniard was out in 2004 because of injury and since has won 21 straight matches.

Nadal took the first set by breaking Davydenko's serve when the Russian hit a forehand wide from the baseline.

Nadal got another break to go up 3-1 in the second. Davydenko broke right back, then lost his serve again to trail 4-2.

In the seventh game, Davydenko played some of his best tennis of the tournament, pinning Nadal to the baseline and hitting winners down the line off his strong forehand. But he failed to convert three break points, then complained that the tournament balls slowed down his game.

"The balls are more heavy," he said. "I didn't hit so fast."

Davydenko can still be pleased with his start to the season, after beating Nadal for the title at Key Biscayne and then losing last week's final at Estoril against Federer when he retired with a leg injury.

"For me it was a good week, semifinal here," Davydenko said. "Now I prepare for Rome."