On a misty Sunday afternoon, Rafael Nadal beat the world number two Novak Djokovic in 4 sets (6-3 5-7 2-6 4-6) at the Philippe Chatrier stadium in Paris to win his 9th Rolland Garros. Djokovic, who was eying his first French Open title to complete his career grand slam was restricted by Nadal, who himself entered the history books by winning his 5th straight French Open title. His tally of fourteen Grand Slam singles is now equal to that of Pete Sampras’.
The ‘King of Clay’ lost the first set to Djokovic who broke his serve in the 8th game as the new balls came in and Nadal over-hit a few shots. Djokovic’s back hand returns were venomous and it seemed Nadal had no replies to them.
In the second set there was a much closer competition between the two athletes as they were going toe to toe till the 6th game, until when Djokovic just couldn’t find his first serve and Rafael won the game with a lead of 4-2 in the set. In the next game Djokovic struck back and broke Nadal’s serve to level things out. It was in the 12th game, with Djokovic serving, that Nadal added on to the pressure and yielded good results as he was able to set 7-5.
Going in the third set the Spaniard just looked unstoppable with flaring fore hand winners down the line, winning the first three games, leaving Djokovic helpless on the court. He tried to fight back but failed and Nadal overpowered him to win his second consecutive set 6-2.
The first four games of the fourth set were split, before Nadal took a 4-2 lead, coming strong at the tiring Djokovic. The feeling of anger and sickness was quite evident on both sides of the net by then, but it was the Spaniard who settled in and emerged victorious, 6-4.
He fell on his knees but had risen to the horizon. He knew it, he had done it. Labouring through injuries, Rafael Nadal registered his 23rd victory over the Serbian, in a total of 42 face-offs, quite clearly an edge.
The Paris crown added another feather to Nadal’s cap as he glorified the podium. He expressed, “When there were problems cropping up, I managed to find the solutions. I succeeded. I managed to win the match and the tournament.”
In the women’s final on Saturday, Maria Sharapova defeated Romania’s Simona Halep 6-4, 6-7, 6-4; to win her fifth grand slam title.
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