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Nadal leaves champions red-faced

sports Updated: Jun 09, 2008 21:44 IST

Reuters
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Rafael Nadal left not one but two great champions red-faced at Roland Garros over the weekend after his fourth successive French Open triumph.

As a winner of 11 grand slam titles, including six at the French Open, Bjorn Borg would have been expected to be a reliable source when it comes to making some predictions about the final between Nadal and world number one Roger Federer.

"A lot of people say no one can beat Nadal the way he's been playing. But I think Roger has a really, really good chance," the great Swede said on the eve of Sunday's final.

Wrong: Federer lost 6-1 6-3 6-0.

"I think it's going to be a really open final. I think it's going to be a long match, very close, close match," added Borg.

Wrong again: Nadal won the most lopsided men's final in Paris since 1977 and at one hour 48 minutes, it was the shortest final clocked since 1980.

"If Roger wins Paris, no doubt he's the greatest player who ever played the game," said Borg.

That remains to be seen after the Swiss's performance on Sunday.

So one sided was the contest, Nadal was embarrassed to celebrate his win while Federer must have been even more embarrassed to pocket the 530,000 euros runner's up cheque.

Since making his grand slam debut at Roland Garros in 1999, Federer had piled up a 149-23 win-loss record at the four majors going into Sunday's final. None of those losses will hurt him or haunt him as much as defeat number 24.

The man who has built up a reputation of cutting his opponents down to size was, for once, on the receiving end of an absolute mauling.

FEWER GAMES

It was certainly not the kind of exhibition fans would have expected from a 12-times grand slam champion. In fact, Federer won fewer games than Dinara Safina had a day earlier in the women's showpiece match.

The Russian, playing in her first grand slam final, was beaten 6-4 6-3 by Ana Ivanovic.

"After a loss like this you don't want to play Rafa again tomorrow, that's for sure," summed up a shell-shocked Federer. Instead of becoming only the sixth man to win all-four major titles, as Federer had hoped he would on Sunday, he earned the dubious distinction of becoming the first man to lose three successive French Open finals. Nadal has became the first man since Borg in 1980 to win the title without dropping a set.