Eight is great: Nadal extends French Open reign|
Paris, France (Sports Network) - Rafael Nadal captured an unprecedented eighth
French Open title on Sunday with a straight-set win over fellow Spaniard David
Nadal used a combination of superior range and power to post a 6-3, 6-2, 6-3
victory on the famed red clay at Stade Roland Garros. The No. 3 seed became
the only man with eight titles at any Grand Slam tournament.
"Eight times here is a lot," Nadal remarked. "I never thought about that. But
I will keep practicing with the same passion and intensity to bring my tennis
to the highest level possible."
Rain periodically fell, intensifying at some points, throughout the match, but
the weather didn't interrupt play. However, the final was briefly halted late
in the second set when a protester jumped onto Court Chatrier with a flare as
Nadal prepared to serve in the seventh game. The individual was swiftly
subdued by security and the flare extinguished.
The unsettling moment likely rattled Nadal and Ferrer as both players followed
with erratic service games. Nadal was broken at 15, while Ferrer failed to win
a point as Nadal closed out the set.
Nadal broke three times in each of the first two sets and then won the first
two games of the third. Ferrer rallied with the help of a break to even the
set at 3-all and had a chance to seize the lead with a break point in the
seventh game. Nadal, though, was able to hold after a trio of Ferrer shots
A Ferrer double fault gave Nadal a 5-3 edge and he fittingly completed the
match with a blistering forehand winner.
"I think the score is much easier than what the match was today," Nadal
stated. "I think for moments I played great. I think a few moments in the
match, I played at very, very high level."
The 27-year-old clay king is now 59-1 all-time at the French Open, the most
wins in the tournament's illustrious history. His lone setback came against
Robin Soderling in the round of 16 in 2009.
Since returning in February from a left knee injury that sidelined him for
seven months, Nadal has gone 43-2 and reached the finals of all nine
tournaments he's entered, winning seven of them.
The mighty Mallorcan claimed his 12th Grand Slam title to move into a tie for
third place with Roy Emerson on the all-time list behind Roger Federer's 17
and Pete Sampras' 14.
Nadal now owns 57 career titles, including 42 on clay. Only Guillermo Vilas
has more clay court titles in the Open Era with 46.
Ferrer, the fourth seed and a first-time Grand Slam finalist, consolidated a
break with a hold to go up 3-2 in the first set.
Nadal then took control by winning seven straight games. He saved a break
point before firing an ace to grab a 5-3 lead, and the opening set concluded
when Ferrer sent a backhander into the net to get broken.
Ferrer squandered a break point to begin the second set. Nadal didn't on his
countryman's next service game as he sprinted across the court from behind the
baseline and secured the break with another tremendous forehand winner. A hold
at love gave Nadal a 3-0 lead before Ferrer fought off two break points and
held when Nadal found the net with a backhand.
Nadal grinded out a lengthy fifth game, saving four break points. He then
converted a fourth break point with a bludgeoned forehand to go up 5-1 before
play was momentarily stopped because of the person wielding a flare.
Ferrer, 31, had not dropped a set en route to his first major final.
"To beat Rafael [on a] clay court, I need to play more aggressive," Ferrer
admitted. "I need to finish the points at the net and play my best tennis to
Despite losing his ninth straight match to Nadal, Ferrer will climb over him
to the No. 4 spot in the world rankings. Nadal will slide down to No. 5.
Sunday's final marked the fourth all-Spanish matchup in Grand Slam history,
with all coming at Roland Garros.
06/09 16:05:17 ET