The sixth sense
Rafa Nadal racked up a record-equalling sixth French Open title with a four-sets win over great rival Roger Federer on Sunday as his potent powers on clay again proved irresistible. Pics: Final face-offUpdated: Jun 06, 2011, 09:09 IST
Rafa Nadal racked up a record-equalling sixth French Open title with a four-sets win over great rival Roger Federer on Sunday as his potent powers on clay again proved irresistible.
The 7-5, 7-6, 5-7, 6-1 victory brought him level with Swede Bjorn Borg for Roland Garros men's singles triumphs while it made sure he would stay as world number one ahead of Serbia's Novak Djokovic with Wimbledon looming.
“It's fantastic to win this final against the player who's certainly the best in the world, the best in history,” said Nadal, who has beaten Federer in six of their eight meetings in Grand Slam finals, four of them at Roland Garros.
“It's a very special, outstanding tournament for me. It's one of my wildest dreams come true.”
Swiss Federer, who was bidding to beat the Spaniard on the Paris clay for the first time in five attempts, made a lightning start and squandered a point to win the first set but was ultimately powerless to stop Nadal's charge. “Congratulations to Rafa for having won the tournament once again.”
“He played a super match today,” Federer, whose one Roland Garros title came in 2009 after Nadal was beaten earlier in the tournament by Robin Soderling, said.
The day had started bright and sunny with Swiss fans playing their huge alpine horns in the tree-lined paths of the age-old venue, which will keep the event past 2016 after a redevelopment plan beat rival proposals for a move to the Paris suburbs.
A handful of Nadal supporters, some wearing Spain soccer shirts, were also ready for another classic duel between two of the greatest players the world has ever seen.
A slow start to the two-week tournament by Nadal was long forgotten by the time the two walked out on court to clash in the final after third seed Federer had ended second seed Djokovic's 41-match winning streak in 2011 in the semis.
Like so many of their epic battles down the years, this was another match full of exhilarating rallies and spellbinding winners but “King of Clay” Nadal deservedly prevailed.
Federer started the encounter with a confident service game and then snatched his opponent's serve on his fourth opportunity when Nadal surprisingly spun a short forehand into the net.