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Nadal claims fourth consecutive French Open title

Published on 09/06/2008

9 June 2008

PARIS – Spain’s Rafael Nadal on Sunday lifted the French Open tennis trophy for the fourth time in as many years, after beating world number one Roger Federer and destroying his ambitions to dominate men’s tennis on all surfaces. .

On the red clay of Roland Garros, Rafael Nadal utterly destroyed the Swiss world number one, the 6-1, 6-3, 6-0 scoreline amply reflecting the Spaniard’s superiority and giving him his fourth consecutive French Open title.

Nadal had been in such imperious form in the lead-up to the final that it was tempting to wonder whether he would suffer against Federer because he simply hadn’t been tested enough throughout the tournament. But that notion was banished in the first game, when the Majorcan broke Federer before racing to a one-set lead.

Both players were hitting the ball deep and close to the line, but it was Nadal whose groundstrokes found their target, while the Swiss saw too many shots narrowly going out. And while Federer, as expected, always looked a threat at the net, Nadal knows the five-time Wimbledon champion’s game well enough to make sure that his approaches were few and far between.

"At 2-0 in the second set I thought it seemed too easy, and maybe I lost concentration a bit," said Nadal afterwards. The blip was momentary, though. At 3-3, Federer earned a break point, but his opponent saved it with a daring drop shot and barely looked back as he rampaged on to take the second set 6-3 and then the third 6-0.

Nadal’s build and highly physical style may be a far cry from Bjorn Borg, who was watching in the stands as the Majorcan matched his record of four titles in as many years, but there was no doubting that the Spaniard dominates clay with the same ease that the Swede once did.

The last time the French Open was won so easily was in 1977, when Guillermo Vilas lost only three games in beating Brian Gottfried. Inevitably, some will see this as proof that Federer is on the wane. Others will simply see it as confirmation that on this form and this surface, Nadal is without equal.

[El Pais / Georgina Higueras / Expatica]