In 2005, Rafael Nadal climbed to the top of the French Open mountain. Exactly 17 years later, the style has changed, the haircut has changed and many injuries have been passed, but he’s still right there at the top of that mountain. The “King of Clay” claimed his title again, defeating Casper Rudd 6-3, 6-3, 6-0 to win his 14th French Open title and his 22nd career Grand Slam.
After a comfortable hiatus and a break at the start, it looked like Nadal would sail into the first round, but Rudd came back with a fracture of his own to get back on serve. But Nadal broke Rod for the second time in two attempts and already cruised from there.
Nadal slipped after a break early in the second set and will be 3-1 behind. Then, in a not surprising turn of events, given his history at Roland Garros, Nadal will not lose another match.
He came back strong in the second set, winning five games in a row to win the set 6-3. Throughout the match, Nadal made Rudd pay for his missed serve, and that was especially evident in the second set, when Nadal won on nine of 12 points from Ruud’s second serve. The set ended with Rudd’s first double fault of the match.
The Spaniard was really relentless in the third set and Rudd was clearly exhausted and out of answers, as he had done a lot before against Nadal at Roland Garros. The match ended mercifully with Nadal’s sharp victory on the goal line, and Nadal put his head in his hands as the weight of another French Open title hit him.
Nadal’s 14th French Open streak is eight more than the closest man, Bjorn Borg, has in the Open era. Nadal’s grand slams – four times in the US, twice at Wimbledon and two Australian Opens to line up with 14 French titles – are also more than ever by a man, twice more than both Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer.
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