French Open – Nadal wins fourth straight French title
The 22-year-old Spaniard, who did not drop a set the entire tournament, matches Bjorn Borg‘s record of four successive Grand Slam crowns in Paris.
“I played a perfect match,” said Nadal, who was presented with the trophy by Borg after breezing to victory in one hour 48 minutes.
“I’m sorry for that final but you played well,” he told Federer. “I want to thank Roger for his attitude on the court.”
Federer, meanwhile, was denied in his career Grand Slam bid by the Mallorcan claycourt king for a fourth straight year and for a third consecutive time in the final.
“I would have hoped to do better than four games but Rafael is very, very strong,” Federer said.
“He dominated this tournament like maybe no one before except Borg, so congratulations Rafa.
“It was still a good week. Losing in a final is never easy but I will try again next year.”
Nadal imposed his will from the outset breaking in the very first game of the opening set as Federer hit an unforced forehand error on the Spaniard’s second break point chance.
Federer, who ended the match with 35 unforced errors, offered little resistance against the world number two from there as the Spaniard easily saved a pair of break points in the very next game.
Nadal forced the 26-year-old Swiss to save two further break points in the third before breaking again in the fifth for the double break lead.
As Federer swapped his tactics for a more aggressive style at the net, Nadal easily countered with some incredible play from his backhand side to fire pass after pass as Federer finished the match 18 of 42 on net points.
The 12 time Grand Slam champion, who is only missing a French Open trophy to complete his collection of major titles, hit a succession of errors in the seventh game as Nadal easily closed out the opener in just 32 minutes with another break of serve.
Nadal again broke straight off in the second set, taking advantage of Federer errors and deftly outmanoeuvring his rival when he went to the net.
In the third game, however, Federer finally began show a bit of fight rallying with Nadal at the baseline to press his rival into a mistake and break back.
After both men held serve, Federer seemed on the verge of taking the momentum away from the Spaniard after forcing his rival to deuce in the seventh game.
As chants of “Roger, Roger,” rained down from the heavily partisan Philippe Chatrier crowd, Nadal coolly saved a break point as Federer reached the Spaniard’s drop shot but could only push it into the net.
After Nadal forced yet another error to take the critical hold of serve, the world number two broke his rival yet again with some more fine passing shots from the baseline.
Nadal then wrapped up the second set on his first chance with a service winner down the T.
The conclusion seemed to be a formality, as the errors continued to mount for the Swiss and the Spaniard continued to dominate.
Nadal swept through the final set in just 27 minutes without conceding a break point, serving out for the victory on his first chance as Federer pushed a forehand error well long on championship point.
The final set was the first time that Federer had lost to love since 1999 when the 18-year-old Swiss lost to Zimbabwean Byron Black in the first round of Queen’s Club.
The final was also the shortest at Roland Garros in terms of games played since 1977 and the quickest in terms of time since 1980.