ROME - Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams fired warning shots to their French Open rivals with comprehensive victories over Roger Federer and Victoria Azarenka respectively in Rome on Sunday.
Nadal has produced some blistering tennis since returning from a seven-month injury absence and his seventh victory in nine years on the red clay of Rome left his Swiss rival in no doubt as to the Spaniard's prospects of lifting an eighth French Open title.
"Now he is the favourite for the French Open," said Federer.
With 19 defeats against Nadal — 12 of which had already come on clay — Federer was playing catch-up from the third game before falling to a comprehensive 6-1, 6-3 loss.
But Nadal warned that form is no guarantee against an early upset. "Maybe it is enough, but what can I tell you? If I play like this and I arrive at Roland Garros and somebody beats me, I will shake his hand," said Nadal, who has won six titles in eight tournaments since his return to the tour in February.