RAFAEL NADAL was left to reflect on an “almost perfect” performance after crushing Roger Federer to win the French Open for the fourth time in succession today.
The Spaniard took advantage of a lacklustre display by the world number one to post a one-sided 6-1 6-3 6-0 triumph, which continues his remarkable unbeaten run at Roland Garros.
Nadal’s French Open record now stands at 28-0, but few of his previous 27 victories can have been easier than this latest success on the red clay in Paris.
Federer committed 35 unforced errors in a match that lasted just only an hour and 48 minutes, and after pushing Nadal briefly in the second set when he forced break point at 3-3, the Swiss maestro’s challenge faded away as his opponent cantered home.
“I did not expect a match like this,” said Nadal, who joins Bjorn Borg and Ilie Nastase as the only players to win the title without dropping a set.
“I played almost a perfect match, and Roger had more mistakes than usual.”
The world number two has beaten Federer in the final of the last two French Opens, and enjoyed an 8-1 career lead on clay over the Swiss coming into Sunday’s match, but he indicated slight revisions in his game could explain the manner of his dominance in this latest meeting.
“I have improved a little bit (more) than in (the) last years,” he said. “I played more aggressive than usual. I’m playing more inside the court, changing direction more and playing more flat shots on the backhand.”
Asked whether such a comfortable victory made him feel like the world’s best player, Nadal replied: “No. I feel like the number two. I’m closer to the number three than the number one.”
Nadal’s fourth French Open title in succession equals the Open era record set by Swedish legend Borg almost 30 years ago.
Borg was present on Philippe Chatrier court to present the Musketeers Cup to Nadal after the match, but the Spaniard once again shrugged off the comparisons.
“It is always very nice, the comparisons with Borg, especially as he’s much better than me.”
Federer must now wait at least another 12 months to achieve his goal of becoming only the sixth man to complete a career Grand Slam, but he remained gracious after his ninth defeat in 10 clay court meetings with Nadal.
“It’s been a great tournament, to lose in the final is never fun but I will try again next year,” said Federer.
“I’m feeling good, looking forward to the end of the year and Wimbledon. But Rafa deserves it so much.”
“I didn’t really come close today, so it’s disappointing.
“To lose the way I did today is obviously hard but it’s okay. I’ll move on from here.
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