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Nadal wins 9th French Open, tops Djokvic in final

Nadal Wins Record Ninth French Open



By CHRIS LEHOURITES

PARIS (AP) - Trying to beat Rafael Nadal at the French Open is, without a doubt, the toughest task in tennis. Indeed, must be among the greatest challenges in all of sports.

The pressure he applies, from set to set, game to game, point to point, shot to shot. That bullwhip of a high-bouncing, topspin lefty forehand. Those quick-reflex returns that help him break an opponent's serve - and his will.

Doing what he does so well on the red clay of Roland Garros, a surface and site he dominates so completely, the No. 1-seeded Nadal wore down No. 2 Novak Djokovic 3-6, 7-5, 6-2, 6-4 in a muggy final Sunday to win his ninth French Open championship and fifth in a row, both records.

"For me," Nadal said, "playing here in Roland Garros is just unforgettable, forever."

It is also his 14th Grand Slam title overall, tying the 28-year-old Spaniard with Pete Sampras for the second most by a man, behind only Roger Federer's 17.

That includes Nadal's two trophies apiece at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, along with one from the Australian Open, proving he can beat the best on grass and hard courts, too. But it's on the clay of Paris where Nadal reigns supreme: He has won 66 of 67 career French Open matches.

Since the only loss, against Robin Soderling in the fourth round in 2009, Nadal has won 35 consecutive matches at Roland Garros.

No other man has won more than seven titles at any of tennis' four majors.

"It's not impossible, but it's very, very difficult to stay with Rafa in this court, throughout the whole match, on the highest level of performance," said Djokovic, who was broken in the final game of each set, including with an anticlimactic double-fault on match point.

Nadal ensured that he, not Djokovic, will be ranked No. 1 on Monday. In the process, Nadal once again prevented six-time major champion Djokovic from completing a career Grand Slam.

"He deserves to win this tournament," Nadal said. "I am sure he will do it in the future."

Djokovic had won their four most recent matches, including on clay in the best-of-three-set final at Rome last month. Beating Nadal in best-of-five is a whole other matter.

Nadal also topped Djokovic in the 2012 final, and the 2013 semifinals. In all, Nadal leads Djokovic 6-0 at the French Open, 9-3 at major tournaments, and 23-19 in total. No other pair of men has played each other as often.

The defeat in Rome was one of three this season on clay for Nadal, raising questions about whether he'd be unbeatable at Roland Garros this time. There also was the matter of his troublesome back, which flared up during a loss to Stan Wawrinka in the Australian Open final and slowed his serve at times during the French Open.

For 3 1/2 hours Sunday, when the sky was crystal clear and the temperature touched 80 degrees (27 Celsius), Djokovic gave everything he had, even spitting up on court.

"I played at the maximum of my power, my strength, and my capability," Djokovic said, "but Rafa was the best player."

Using his backhand to great effect against Nadal's forehand early, Djokovic grabbed the first set, and got to 5-all in the second.

"I felt," Nadal said, "the match was more in his hands at the beginning."

Knowing that overcoming a two-set hole might be too much even for him, Nadal raised his level, taking 20 of 26 points to claim that set and a 3-0 lead in the third.

"Without that second set, I don't know if I have this trophy with me now," Nadal would say later.

When a down-the-line forehand winner ended the second set, Nadal leaped and shook both fists, his first sign of real emotion.

"The momentum went (to) his side," Djokovic said. "I started playing quite bad and didn't move as well. Struggled a little bit physically throughout that third set."

That was apparent. His cheeks were flushed. He put his hand on his heaving chest. He wobbled and nearly fell over while sitting on his changeover bench.

Still, after trailing 4-2 in the fourth, Djokovic made one last stand. As skilled a retriever as his formidable foe - Djokovic won 10 of the first 15 points that lasted at least 10 strokes - he came up with a desperation defensive lob that landed right near the baseline, drawing a netted overhead from Nadal to earn a break point. Soon, it was 4-all.

But Nadal steadied himself to hold to 5-4, then broke one last time. Soon enough, he was clutching the French Open trophy, his trophy.

Join the discussion

1000|Char. 1000  Char.
evnsaffl June 08 2014 at 4:34 PM

Sharapova's coach should have been sanctioned for constant illegal coaching during the
French Open finals.

Even one of the commentators noticed and mentioned Sven Groeneveld's illegal coaching.

At one point, her coach unprofessionally stood up and swiveled his entire body, to coach Maria on body positioning.

Many, many other times, he stood up and yelled comments to her.

That is totally unprofessional and illegal.

Halep's coach, on the other hand, was extremely professional.

I hope Groeneveld's illegal coaching wlll be investigated, as well as authorities ignoring Sharapova's stretching the time limits before serving.

Flag Reply +12 rate up
8 replies
joyful6666 June 08 2014 at 4:27 PM

I love to watch Nadal. He is soooo good and isn't a smart ass like the other guy.

Flag Reply +10 rate up
6 replies
stock market June 08 2014 at 4:31 PM

After it was pointed out, have you noticed the routine Nadal goes through before he gets set to receive the ball? Picks at rear-end, finger through the hair and sweat, then pulls at his penis. Gets annoying. If I were his opponet I would hit the ball before he finishes.

Flag Reply +8 rate up
11 replies
browerjd June 08 2014 at 3:22 PM

All BS aside, my congratulations to my favorite tennis player,Rafael Nadal

Flag Reply +7 rate up
4 replies
Marcia June 08 2014 at 6:29 PM

Love, love, love, love, love Nadal and watching him play.

And he is a nice guy as well~!!! Bravo to you, Nadal~!!!

Flag Reply +6 rate up
3 replies
Ilyse June 08 2014 at 4:31 PM

Rafa always starts slow lately and then Wham ! Congratulations to Nadal #1 always!
the most exciting player on the court!!!

Flag Reply +4 rate up
2 replies
fairway7000 Ilyse June 08 2014 at 10:55 PM

Yep.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
Joseph Apohen Ilyse June 09 2014 at 12:56 AM

Again, is he on steroid? Is there testing in tennis?

Flag Reply +2 rate up
1 reply
Jose Joseph Apohen June 09 2014 at 5:55 AM

What an ignorant question !!

Flag 0 rate up
supermolar June 08 2014 at 4:24 PM

nice to see an athlete with no (visible) tatoos

Flag Reply +3 rate up
2 replies
fairway7000 supermolar June 08 2014 at 11:51 PM

agree with that sup'mol

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Joseph Apohen supermolar June 09 2014 at 12:58 AM

I don't see too many tennis players with tattoos. As a matter of fact I don't remember seeing with one. Refreshing for a change.

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2 replies
failte9 Joseph Apohen June 09 2014 at 4:22 AM

In my humble opinion, the reason that few, if any, tennis players have tatoos is because they have class & sophistication------something very lacking in many or most other sports. Tennis reigns supreme (as a sport) in my opinion. And, it happens to be one of the toughest to play.

Flag 0 rate up
jdalgar Joseph Apohen June 09 2014 at 9:35 AM

Guess you don't like tattoos. Actually the women have more of them than the men. Nut McEnroe had one, Tipsarevic has several and all, IMHO, are tasteful - in many cases meaningful. Kim Klijsters has one of hers on her ring finger because she can't wear her wedding ring when she plays. Why care or judge people for choosing to have tattoos? My brother adds a new one to his arm everytime we lose a family member. He has a beautiful story happening there.

Flag 0 rate up
orionkennel June 08 2014 at 7:05 PM

he is awesome! and very humble.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
2 replies
supermomlm orionkennel June 08 2014 at 9:36 PM

yes....he is AWECOME! The most exciting player on the court today! And on top of that heis humble...
Love to see such winner and also show some humility...So maniy are so i arragamt but not Nadal!
Congratulations to the winner he is!!

Flag Reply 0 rate up
1 reply
failte9 supermomlm June 09 2014 at 4:23 AM

Hey, "supermomlm", learn to spell and proofread what you write.

Flag 0 rate up
fairway7000 orionkennel June 08 2014 at 11:52 PM

Yep

Flag Reply 0 rate up
walso June 08 2014 at 8:49 PM

HE PLAYED WELL AND WON. HE DESERVED TO WIN WITHOUT ANY QUALIFICATIONS OR COMPLAINTS.
CONGRATULATIONS,
WALT

Flag Reply +2 rate up
1 reply
fairway7000 walso June 08 2014 at 11:51 PM

Absolutley right on, Walt.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
jimormarylosc June 08 2014 at 5:34 PM

who's the man, he the man

Flag Reply +2 rate up
1 reply
fairway7000 jimormarylosc June 08 2014 at 10:55 PM

Yep.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
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