by the world number two Roger Federer of Switzerland in the final of the Mutua Madrilena Madrid Open 6-4, 6-4.
The Spaniard, a master of clay, won the French Open the last four years; defeating Federer in the championship final the last three years. Federer; however, over the years has broken two
of Nadal's claycourt winning streaks: a 81 match streak from 2007 and a 33 claycourt streak from last year.
Federer this year showed patience and improvement in his claycourt game, but Nadal continues to dominate many baseline rallies with his left-handed topspin, power and placement.
Nadal, 150-5 in clay since 2005 and 43-0 in best of five set matches on clay, needless to say is the overwhelming favorite at Roland Garros for another year.
In the semifinals, the defending champion could meet the third seeded Andy Murray of Britain, while Federer could face either the fourth seeded Novak Djokovic of Serbia or the fifth seeded Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina.
In women's tennis despite never winning a grand slam, the big hitter Dinara Safina of Russia enters Paris as the top seed. And after seemingly conquering her mental demons from earlier in her career, the 2008 Paris finalist could go one step further this year.
Former world number one Maria Sharapova of Russia, unseeded this year due to an absence from the WTA Tour after an October right shoulder surgery, could meet the Wimbledon champion Venus Williams in the quarterfinals, with the winner facing Safina or the defending champion and eighth seeded Ana Ivanovic of Serbia in the semifinals.
In a possible rankings shake up, Venus Williams could rise from number three to one in the WTA Tour rankings after Paris following a considerably better result than her sister Serena Williams and Safina.
On the other half of the women's draw, the US Open and Australian Open champion Serena Williams could meet fourth seeded Elena Dementieva of Russia or fifth seeded Jelena Jankovic of Serbia in the semifinals.
The French Open, the second of four of tennis' two week grand slam tournaments, begins Sunday with each singles champion to be awarded $1.4 million.