Nadal molds 10th title on Paris clay

Violet Powell
June 12, 2017

Paris: Spaniard Rafael Nadal became the first tennis player to win 10 titles in any Grand Slam tournament in the Open Era as he outclassed Stanislas Wawrinka at the French Open final here on Sunday.

4 claimed an incredible 10th French Open title with a 6-2, 6-3, 6-1 victory over Wawrinka in a match that lasted for two hours.

After winning his ninth Roland Garros and 14th major in 2014, Nadal's best performance at the Slams was two quarter-final spots.

Third seed Wawrinka, the 2015 champion who had won all his three previous grand slam finals, was gracious in defeat.

The Open era, when the Grand Slam tournaments allowed professional players to compete with amateurs, began in 1968.

"For sure this score wasn't good, the match wasn't good, but at the end of the day there's a lot of positives to take from the last few weeks", Wawrinka said.

But in an astonishing resurgence the Mallorcan reached this year's Australian Open final, losing a classic to old sparring partner Roger Federer, and has steamrollered through the European claycourt season, winning a 10th title in Monte Carlo and Barcelona and a fifth in Madrid.

"Four games he dropped at most - in any set in any match".

Nadal moved into sole possession of second place in men's majors, pulling away from American Pete Sampras and once again getting to within three of Federer.

Wawrinka, who spent almost five hours more on court than Nadal to reach the final, looked tentative and heavy-legged although he did have a glimmer in the third game when Nadal was forced to save a break point.

"If you play Rafa, if you're not completely free with what you think and what you're going to do, and not completely relaxed the way you're going to play, you have no chance", said the Swiss.

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And for the third time - after 2008 and 2010 - he won the French Open title without conceding a set.

Where was the match won and lost?

Rafael Nadal will resume his bittersweet relationship with Wimbledon buoyed by his record-breaking French Open but wary of the traps which have ensnared him at the All England Club.

Despite his dominance at the French Open, Nadal said he never took victory for granted. The sun was shining, there was barely a trace of cloud in the bright blue sky and the temperature was about 85 degrees (30 Celsius).

First game of the third set and Nadal broke again as the man who stunned him in the 2014 Australian Open final suffered further damage.

But the song remained the same, Nadal taking the set in the ninth game, just moments after Wawrinka, who knocked out world number one Andy Murray in the semis, had destroyed a racquet in utter frustration.

A brief lull as the court staff watered down the red dust failed to extinguish Nadal's fire and, despite Wawrinka's best efforts to extend the contest, the final set was little more than a coronation for Paris's favourite Spaniard.

After netting a forehand in the second set, Wawrinka pounded his racket on his head several times.

Nadal has broken his fair share of opponents on the clay, that's for sure.

Even Wawrinka applauded that one. "Nothing to say about today", he said at courtside.

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