Home Sports Nadal reigns supreme at Roland Garros with third straight victory

Nadal reigns supreme at Roland Garros with third straight victory

By Bill Scott


Paris : Rafael Nadal denied Roger Federer a date with history while claiming another record for himself with a thrilling 6-3, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory to lift a third straight French Open title.

The Spanish powerhouse triumphed in three hours 10 minutes as the Swiss missed out on a second career chance to become only the sixth man to hold all four Grand Slam titles at the same time.

Nadal, who fell to the red clay in joy after winning his 21st straight match at Roland Garros, duplicated Bjorn Borg's three titles in a row achieved in 1980.

"I'm very happy, Roger is a true champion. He will have a chance to win this event. To win here again is a true dream, it's so incredible."

Federer, now 4-8 against his main rival, was subdued in defeat.

"Once again, a fantastic match for Rafa, an incredible effort," said Federer after losing only his second Grand Slam final – another one to Nadal.

"I'm a bit sad and disappointed. I had my chances but Rafa is such a tough opponent.

"I like this event more and more, and I hope to win it. I felt I was further away this year than last.

"It felt like I was always chasing him."

Federer was able to convert one break point out of 17 chances, missing all 10 in the first set. The normally impeccable Swiss struck 60 unforced errors while Nadal produced four breaks of the number one's serve.

The Spaniard closed it out on his first match point with a shout of celebration then rushed into the stands to hug his support group.

In the opening game, Federer earned the first two break points of the afternoon as he drove Nadal far wide, then caught the Spaniard with an aggressive overhead smash winner as the holder raced to recover.

The second seed showed he was prepared for a dogfight as he saved them both to deny the Swiss, eventually levelling at two games apiece.

Federer rebounded brilliantly with a love game to show he also meant business in front of a full-house 15,000 strong crowd who gave him the larger ovation by far when the pair took to the court.

Nadal again came through under continuing pressure, saving another pair of break points in the sixth game. Three more chances went unused as the tension ratcheted up in the key game.

The Spaniard finally limped home to hold as Federer hit the net, 3-3 after the 17-minute game.

The top seed then slumped, going down on his own serve to love to hand Nadal 4-3 control after 40 minutes.

Federer got three more chances in the next game and failed on all of them to make it 10 costly missed chances in eight games as the Spaniard took a 5-3 lead.

Federer answered 0-30 in the next game with his first ace, then produced a timely serve winner. But a loose forehand into the net gave Nadal a set point, which he converted with a winner to the empty court after 51 minutes.

Nadal started the second set with a love game, with Federer regaining rhythm to hold for 1-1.

But problems struck the Swiss again, with a netted forehand handing over a break point chance in the fourth game, saved through a Nadal error. A Federer ace and a winner saved the game 2-2 as the crowd began chanting "Roger, Roger."

Federer finally made his breakthrough one hour 20 minutes into the battle as he began to find success in moving the agile Spaniard around more.

The Swiss thrilled the fans as he finally earned a break as Nadal couldn't react to a drive deep to the corner, which gave Federer a 4-3 lead. After digging himself out of 0-30 trouble then saving three break points, Federer took a 5-3 lead, then let two set points go through unforced errors in the next game.

The Swiss earned a third chance only to see Nadal save it with a flicking backhand winner. Federer overcooked a backhand wide on the fourth set-winning chance before Nadal struggled to a hold, 4-5.

The 55-minute struggle was ended by a Nadal forehand long which left the contest level at a set each.

Nadal showed no damage from his setback, striking first with a break for 2-0 in the third set. From 0-3 Federer got on the scoreboard 1-3 as his opponent sailed a return long.

The Swiss fired a love game for 2-4 and saved a set point to pull to 3-5 before Nadal took a two-sets-to-one lead on his second opportunity.

Federer served three aces to start the fourth set 1-0 only to miss on a chance to take a 2-0 lead. Nadal quickly consolidated with a break of the Swiss, his fourth of the afternoon to lead 2-1 on his way to the win.