Rafael Nadal wins his 10th Roland Garros title

0
262

Rafael Nadal completed his own La Decima by crushing Stan Wawrinka to win an unprecedented 10th French Open title.

The Spaniard becomes the first man to reach double figures at a single slam and, if he continues to play like this, then Margaret Court’s all-time record of 11 Australian Open titles looks certain to fall.

Nadal was at his most masterful on the stage he has made his own and needed just two hours and five minutes to beat Wawrinka 6-2 6-3 6-1.

The 31-year-old lost only 35 games in seven matches and won the title without dropping a set for the third time.

Wawrinka, who may have been feeling the effects of an epic semi-final against Andy Murray, started slowly and could not get into the match.

It is a first grand slam final defeat for the Swiss, who won the Australian Open in 2014, here two years ago and the US Open last summer.

Nadal has not had to wait as long as Real Madrid did for a 10th European title but, for a man who won nine titles in 10 years, two years without one was virtually an eternity.

After losing just his second match here against Novak Djokovic in the quarter-finals in 2015, Nadal was forced to pull out ahead of the third round last year with a left wrist injury.

Nadal’s desolation then was in stark contrast to the joy he showed here at the moment of victory, lying flat on his back in customary fashion to celebrate a remarkable achievement.

Wawrinka had dominated the baseline against Murray and smacked 87 winners but here he was being pushed way back by Nadal’s vicious spin.

The high forehand to a one-hander’s backhand, the shot that has been Roger Federer’s nemesis, was working just as well against his compatriot.

Wawrinka actually had the first break point in the third game in a scratchy start to the match but soon he was the one under pressure.

He fought off four break points in the next game but was broken two games later and the set soon followed.

Wawrinka had to be aggressive but he was making far too many unforced errors – 17 in the first set alone.

It threatened to get embarrassing for the Swiss when Nadal, his forehands now as venomous as a viper, raced into a 3-0 lead in the second set.

Wawrinka at least halted the run at seven games but there was no hint of the match turning at this point, as the women’s final had on Saturday.

Nadal hit surely the shot of the tournament in the sixth game, taking a fine Wawrinka backhand and lashing it down the line without even looking.

All the third seed could do was applaud.

Wawrinka at least forced Nadal to serve out the set but that proved to be no problem, with the Swiss destroying his racket when he missed a forehand.

Things did not improve as Nadal broke serve again in the opening game of the third set.

Everything Wawrinka tried was returned to him with interest, not that the 32-year-old ever stopped fighting.

He whipped the crowd up when he created a game point to hold for 2-3 only for Nadal to scramble a defensive lob just inside the baseline, with Wawrinka netted the smash.

He lost the next two points as well to give Nadal another break and the Spaniard raced across the finish line.

Nadal, who has now closed back to within three of Federer’s all-time record with a 15th slam title, said in halting French: “It’s truly amazing.

“This final to win La Decima for me is very, very special. It’s very emotional for me.”

Switching to English, Nadal continued: “The feeling I have here is impossible to describe.

“The nerves, the adrenaline that I feel when I play in this court is impossible to compare. It’s the most important tournament in my career and to win again is something I can’t describe.”