05
Jun
11

Rafael Nadal beat Roger Federer to win a record-equalling sixth French Open title.

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Nadal triumphed 7-5 7-6 (7/3) 5-7 6-1 to pull level with Bjorn Borg on six clay crowns at Roland Garros. The victory, which sees him keep his world number one ranking, is also his 10th Grand Slam singles title, leaving only five men ahead of him on the all-time list. Federer had started like a train and will look back on the set point he had at 5-2 in the opening set. However, despite plenty of momentum swings, Nadal fought back to win what was always a tightly-contested match. Federer flew out of the blocks with Nadal making some uncharacteristic errors in the early stages. At 2-5, Nadal called for the trainer to making an adjustment to some heavy strapping on his left foot. Nadal had to stave off set point in the next game – Federer sending a drop shot just wide – but the adjustment seemed to do the trick as he struck back by breaking Federer as he served for the set. Indeed he would win seven straight games to take full control of the contest, leading by a set and a break.

Federer looked in big trouble at that stage but out of nowhere broke back in the eighth game of the second set. However, no sooner had he levelled the set than he handed the advantage back. With Nadal serving for the set at 5-4, he missed set point before play was halted at deuce due to a rain shower, Nadal just two points from a two-set lead. The break worked in Federer’s favour for when the players returned after little more than 10 minutes, he managed to save set point before breaking. He looked rejuvenated and took the set into a tie-break, but at that point it all went wrong. A number of forehand errors proved costly as Nadal raced 4-0 ahead and went on to win it 7-3.

With Nadal having never lost a claycourt match in five sets, the task for Federer was now steep to say the least and when Nadal broke for a 4-2 lead, it looked all over bar the shouting. However, again Federer was able to produce when least expected, breaking straight back – to love – and then doing so again in the 11th game before serving out. Having kept his hopes alive with a golden spell of tennis, Federer moved to 0-40 in the opening game of the fourth set. However, he could not break for a third time in four Nadal service games and that proved a crucial moment in the match. Nadal held and went on to break in the fourth and sixth games before serving out for his latest slice of history.

 

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