Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Rafael Nadal in full flow at the Roland Garros centre court on his way to a 7-5, 7-6, 5-7, 6-1 win.
Rafael Nadal in full flow at the Roland Garros centre court on his way to a 7-5, 7-6, 5-7, 6-1 win.
Rafael Nadal reacts after mission is accomplished at the Roland Garros for a record-equalling sixth time in the final.
Rafael Nadal reacts after mission is accomplished at the Roland Garros for a record-equalling sixth time in the final.
Roger Federer managed to take the third set but that was only what Nadal would allow him to take off him.
Roger Federer managed to take the third set but that was only what Nadal would allow him to take off him.

Federer's clay feet allow Nadal to sixth French Open title

The Spaniard gets level with Borg's record at Roland Garros with his 10th Grand Slam title and retains world No 1 spot.

PARIS // Rafael Nadal won a 10th Grand Slam crown and equalled Bjorn Borg's record of six French Open titles when he defeated Roger Federer 7-5, 7-6 (7/3), 5-7, 6-1 on Sunday in the rivals' latest epic duel.

Top seed Nadal, who was also champion in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2010, took his overall Paris record to 45 wins against just one defeat and victory also meant he hangs on to his world number one spot.

It was the 25-year-old Spaniard's 17th win over Federer in 25 meetings and fourth in a Roland Garros final.

But unlike the pair's 2008 clash, when Federer managed to win just four games in the most one-sided final in 30 years, Nadal was made to work harder for his sixth Paris title.

He had to come from 2-5 in the opener, saving a set point, and then squandered a 4-2 lead in the third as 29-year-old Federer, the 2009 champion and bidding for a 17th Grand Slam title, threatened to launch a stunning comeback.

In the end, he was undone by a combination of Nadal's claycourt prowess and his own 56 unforced errors.

In a final played in heavy, muggy conditions in the French capital, Federer raced to a 3-0 courtesy of two confident service games and a break in the second game on a fourth break point when Nadal netted a simple running forehand.

The Swiss, playing in his 23rd Grand Slam final, was soon 5-2 ahead wth Nadal's problems compounded by having to call for treatment on a blister on his left heel at the changeover.

But Nadal regrouped and saved a set point in the seventh game, albeit by the smallest of margins when a Federer drop shot just missed the target.

The Spaniard went to 3-5 with a thumping backhand crosscourt winner before he retrieved the break in the ninth game with a sweeping, low forehand which the approaching Federer could only volley into the net.

Nadal held for 5-5 and broke to lead for 6-5 by winning a thrilling eye-to-eye duel at the net with a reflex volley before a rattled Federer netted a simple forehand.

The Spaniard clinched the set after 62 minutes when he swept a killer forehand crosscourt with Federer hopelessly out of position.

It was Nadal's fifth game in a row and that soon became seven with a break and hold to lead 2-0 in the second set as Federer wilted.

Federer had to serve two aces on his way to saving three break points in the fifth game, but then broke to level at 4-4, for once breaching Nadal's impeccable defences.

But he handed the advantage straight back in the next game, skewering a backhand wide having saved two break points.

Nadal missed a set point at 5-4 before rain brought a 10-minute halt. He squandered another on the resumption before Federer made him pay to hit back for 5-5.

The top seed dominated the tie break. A weak approach from Federer allowed Nadal to fire back a backhand pass to carve out four set points and he was two sets to the good thanks to a another searing, forehand crosscourt winner.

Federer was broken to love to slip 4-2 down in the third set but bravely clung on to nip straight back to trail 3-4.

He successfully served to stay in the match in the 10th game, broke for 6-5 before having the crowd on their feet by snatching the third set 7-5.

In a rollercoaster of an occasion, Nadal fought off two break points in the opening game of the fourth set, then broke to love for a 3-1 lead and held for 4-1.

The fight was suddenly gone from Federer as Nadal clinched a double break for 5-1.

A netted service return gave Nadal three match points and a sixth title was his when Federer went long with a forehand.

 

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 Karim Benzema of Real Madrid celebrates scoring the opening goal in the Champions League semi-final first leg match against Bayern Munich at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday in Madrid, Spain. Martin Rose / Bongarts / Getty Images / April 23, 2014

In pictures: Benzema propels Real Madrid over Bayern Munich

Images from Real Madrid's 1-0 win over Bayern Munich in the Champions League semi-final first leg match at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday night.

 UAE’s Charlie Sargent tries to avoid a tackle by Singapore team members during the one-off Division 1 Test at The Sevens. The Singapore-born winger was making his debut. Sarah Dea / The National

Asian Five Nations: UAE go into rebuilding mode in Division 2

With a new look squad, including five emerging Emirati players, the UAE will hope to restructure and get into the winning habit in more forgiving climes when they drop a level in the revamped competition next season.

 Chris Gayle has been the most feared batsman in the Royal Challengers Bangalore line-up since he joined the team in 2011. Indranil Mukherjee / AFP

Parthiv continues to fill Gayle’s big shoes for Bangalore

Indian wicketkeeper-batsman will continue to open the innings for Royal Challengers with the West Indian still nursing his bad back, writes Paul Radley.

 Ian Poulter is fifth on the points list to make the cut in a 12-man European side for the Ryder Cup. Paul Lakatos / AFP

Ian Poulter sees momentum in Europe’s squad-building, with Ryder

Lot of players are striking well to stay in contention for the 12 spots in the team, but there is still lot of time before September, he warns.

 Erykan Bityutsky pulls a 4x4 car during the final day of the UAE Strongman Competition in Dubai. Delores Johnson / The National

UAE Strongman Competition takes weight training to a whole new scale

Two-day competition in Dubai attracts men and women from across the Emirates and proves it takes more than just bulky muscles to win, writes Ali Khaled.

 Benfica's Oscar Cardozo, from Paraguay, lifts the trophy celebrating after beating Olhanense on Sunday at Estadio da Luz. Benfica's 2-0 clinched them the Portuguese Primeira Liga championship. They will play Juventus in the the first leg of their Europa League semi-final tie on Thursday April 24. Francisco Seco / AP / April 20, 2014

Ambitious Benfica ready for Juventus while Sevilla and Valencia set to battle in Europa last-four

Benfica, fresh off clinching their 33rd Portuguese title, are looking to keep Juventus from reaching the Europa League final - which will be played in Turin - while the other semi-final sees La Liga rivals Sevilla and Valencia clash.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National