Rafael Nadal beats Novak Djokovic to lift seventh French Open title

 

Rafael Nadal became the first man ever to win seven French Open titles as he defeated Novak Djokovic 6-4 6-3 2-6 7-5 in their rain-delayed final at Roland Garros.

The Spaniard, who has now surpassed Bjorn Borg, had trailed 2-1 in the fourth set when they resumed this afternoon following last night's suspension but he immediately retrieved the break and clinched victory when Djokovic double-faulted.

The world number one had been bidding to become the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to hold all four grand slam trophies at once following three successive victories over Nadal, but this time the king of clay turned the tables.

Yesterday's first part had certainly not been short on drama, whether it was the fluctuating fortunes of both men or the weather itself.

It had rained for almost the whole three hours, and the wet and heavy conditions affected Nadal both physically and mentally during the third and fourth sets.

The Spaniard was getting increasingly irate as they continued to play, the balls so wet and laden with clay that he could not impart his vicious spin.

From two sets and a break up, he lost eight games in a row before composing himself to win the final game last night, which looked very important when he promptly broke in the first game today to level the fourth set at 2-2.

The slow but dry conditions were perfect for the Spaniard, although he got a huge slice of luck with a net cord on break point that left Djokovic helpless at the net as the ball whizzed past him.

With Nadal leading 4-3, the rain resumed, although it was light, and the Spaniard's feelings were obvious when he sprinted from his chair before the umpire had called for play to restart.

Djokovic looked briefly perturbed but, as has done so often over the last 18 months, he steeled himself to find a way through the game.

He could not threaten on Nadal's serve, though, and the second seed moved to within one game of victory with a love hold.

Suddenly the rain was falling much harder, bringing tournament referee Stefan Fransson onto court, but the players stayed on in their seats while the worst of it fell and then resumed after a brief delay.

Djokovic withstood the first challenge as he served to stay in the match, but at 5-6 Nadal sensed blood and he brought up a first match point with a thundering forehand.

The Serb's resistance crumbled and he ended the match on a double fault, with Nadal sinking to his knees on the clay as he savoured a moment of history.

Nadal climbed into the stands to embrace his support team before taking his customary bite of the Coupe des Mousquetaires.

The Spaniard, who has moved level with Borg and Rod Laver on 11 grand slam titles, said of overtaking the great Swede: "It's an honour but the most important thing is this tournament. It's unforgettable, one of the most special moments in my career."

Djokovic joined Roger Federer, who twice saw his hopes of holding all four trophies ended by Nadal in Roland Garros finals, but the Serb had no complaints with the result.

He said: "I feel really privileged to be in this position, being in the final at Roland Garros for the first time. I enjoyed the match, Rafa was the better player. I hope to come back next year and play even better."

BUY WIMBLEDON TICKETS

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent