There are few certainties in life – taxes, death and Rafael Nadal winning the French Open. Roland Garros is like a second home to Nadal and so it proved again as the Spaniard claimed his sixth French Open title at the weekend. Nadal beat Federer by three sets to one – 7-5 7-6 5-7 6-1.
Federer was coming into the final on a high after taking the scalp of the seemingly invincible Novak Djokovic. The Serb had been undefeated since November 2010 – incidentally it was Federer who inflicted that defeat 7 months ago.
The final appeared to be a tough task for Nadal who had made a slow start to the tournament. Federer had look poised to take the first set, leading 5-3 and one point away from taking the set, but his forehand drifted wide of the tram lines and Nadal took the inititave away from the Swiss and won the next 4 games to clinch the set 7-5. After Nadal took the second set on a tie break you could sense he would go on to claim his sixth French Open title – which draws him level with tennis legend Bjorn Borg.
Federer rallied by taking the third 7-5 but Nadal brushed off the challenge and comprehensively won the fourth set 6-1. At the tender age of just 25 years old, Nadal has time on his side to eclipse Federer’s record of 16 career grand slams.
There was a shock in the woman’s final as Li Na beat defending champion Francesca Schiavone in straight sets to become the first Chinese tennis player to win a grand slam. “It’s a dream come true” said Li “because China never had a Grand Slam champion, so that’s why so many players in China are working so hard. The dream is you can be the top player or win the Grand Slam.”
Li had seen off the Czech star Petra Kvitova in the fourth round of the tournament and looked very impressive despite her underdog status. The 29 year-old Chinese seventh seed will now rise to a career high of world number 4 after her French Open success.
Despite early exits for the Czech men in this years French open and Kvitova’s disappointing exit, there was at last something to cheer as Andrea Hlaváčková and Lucie Hradecká won the French Open Women’s Double’s title.
It was a shock as the pair were unseeded but managed to pull off the victory, claiming their first grand slam title in the process! “It’s a very nice feeling and I think it’s very deserving,” said Hlaváčková.