Nadal Takes His 7th French Open Title
By Steen Kirby, TennisEastCoast.com
It took Rafael Nadal an extra day due to the rain, but he capped off another dominating French Open run, taking his 7th title in 4 sets over a great but not fantastic Novak Djokovic, 6-4 6-3 2-6 7-5. It was a dominating run from start to finish for Nadal, as he dropped only one set the entire tournament (3rd set against Djokovic) and rolled over veteran clay courters Juan Monaco, Nicolas Almagro and David Ferrer in the 2nd week to do it. Not a single player provided him much resistance.
Djokovic gutted his way to the final, coming back from 2 sets down to beat a red hot Andreas Seppi, saving 4 match points to beat home favorite Jo Wilfried-Tsonga and beating a less than top-notch Roger Federer in straights. When he got into the final against Nadal, he performed much the same he had in their previous matches on clay this year in Monte Carlo and Rome, both of which he lost in straights. While he played well enough to beat about any player on the tour, against Nadal, he just didn’t have enough as his strokes and movement weren’t sharp enough against the King of Clay. He quickly lost the 1st 2 sets, the 2nd being interrupted by rain even though he had moments of success in both. In the 3rd, he shockingly found some holes to pick and took them but as the rain moved in again, the match was called and wouldn’t resume until the next day, killing any momentum Djoker may have had.
Thus, when the match began Monday, Rafa was back in the zone and closed it out 7-5 in what was a choppy but unsurprising final. While many had high hopes for this final, like a repeat of their epic Aussie open final that lasted 5+ hours and sets, the fact is Nadal has simply done better on clay and Novak has not found the formula to beat him on the surface yet. Now as things turn to grass and then hard courts the playing field will be a bit more balanced.
In other 2nd week news and notes, Juan Martin Del Potro scored a nice 5 set win over Tomas Berdych before pushing Roger Federer to 5 sets but running out of gas and falling short. Tsonga beat nemesis Stanislas Wawrinka in 5 and then had 4 chances to knock Djokovic out of the tournament, but it was not to be as he gave away the 4th set and then proceed to collapse in the 5th, handing Novak another semi-final appearance. David Ferrer turned in nice wins over fellow Spaniard Marcel Granollers and the unhappy warrior Andy Murray, who gave him a bit of a test but let his head get the best of him once again. Ferrer again came up disappointing against countryman Nadal, only winning 5 games in 3 sets off of him.
Nadal only lost 1 match this clay court season, to Fernando Verdasco on the smurf clay of Madrid, which makes that match a bit of anomaly. Nadal otherwise completely dominated all fellow travelers. He won titles in Monte Carlo, Barcelona, Rome and Paris once again, holding off the critics about his knee and other possible problems.
Daniel Nestor of Canada and Max Mirnyi of Belarus took the doubles title over the Bryan Brothers 6-4 6-4. It was Nestor’s 3rd straight Roland Garros doubles title and Nestor/Mirnyi will continue to be the top ranked doubles team on the ATP tour.