Rafael Nadal's ruthless pursuit of a historic fourth straight French Open title is likely to deliver another, possibly fatal blow to Roger Federer's lingering dream of an elusive Roland Garros crown.
The Spaniard boasts a perfect record of three titles and 21 wins in 21 matches since his debut in Paris in 2005, and another victory on June 8 will take him alongside Bjorn Borg (1978-1981) as the only man to win four in a row.
The left-handed Mallorcan has beaten Federer in the last two French Open finals as the world No 1's hopes of becoming just the sixth man to win all four Grand Slam titles have come up heartbreakingly short.
Nadal, 21, has also won eight of the duo's nine meetings on clay, including the Monte Carlo and Hamburg Masters tournaments this season and since April 2005, the Spaniard has racked up 108 wins in 110 clay-court matches.
Federer has gotten used to being confronted with such overwhelming statistics.
But 2008 has seen the Swiss, with 12 Grand Slam titles to his name, endure one of his worst years on the tour with just one trophy to show for five months frustrating graft.
There is also another worry in the colorful shape of Serbia's Novak Djokovic, the 20-year-old who took his Australian Open title and showed off his clay-court credentials with victory at the Rome Masters.
Little wonder that the popular Federer is hoping that Nadal, who suffered blisters in Rome and needed treatment for a leg injury in Hamburg, might suffer a physical collapse.
"He is perhaps struggling a bit more due to the stress with the levels of the last few weeks. I am completely fine and I will be ready for the French Open," said Federer after seeing his nemesis relieve him of his Hamburg title in a defeat, which ended a 41-match winning streak on German soil.