PARIS — The No. 4 seed Rafael Nadal won his 10th title at the French Open with a 6-2, 6-3, 6-1 victory over the third-seeded Stan Wawrinka in the men’s singles final here on Sunday.
The Spaniard became the first player to win 10 titles in any Grand Slam tournament in the Open Era. He took the sole second place on the all-time list among men’s players for most Grand Slam titles won with his 15th trophy of career.
“Today was a very important day for me. I have been through some tough moments, injuries, so it’s great to have big success like this again,” said Nadal.
“Wawrinka is a very dangerous opponent, so my mentality was that I cannot give him the chance to be back on the match,” he added.
Nadal led their head-to-head record at 15-3 against Wawrinka, also owning an advantage of 6-1 on clay. He continued his in-form performance on his favorite surface, where he recorded the most wins in 2017, at Roland Garros without losing a set en route to the final.
Nadal won all his nine previous final appearances in French Open, and Wawrinka won his first three Grand Slam finals, the 2014 Australian Open, the 2015 Roland Garros and the 2016 US Open.
Two players held their serve in the first four games, before Nadal rode on a four-game winning streak to set it 6-2 in the opening set, where the Swiss No. 3 seed suffered a total of 17 unforced errors.
Wawrinka could not convert his threatening single-handed backhand attack into an upper hand, and Nadal, in quest for a record-breaking 10th success at Roland Garros, pleased crowds a lot throughout the match with his consecutive high-quality forehand shots.
“The King of Clay” built a comfortable 3-0 lead early in the second set, before Wawrinka managed to snap his slide after holding serve in the fourth game.
The Spanish could cover every corner of the court to maintain his advantage at 5-2 after the seventh game. In the ninth game, Wawrinka broke his racquet in frustration after Nadal had two set points at 40-15.
“I was trying to find solution, play better, play the game I wanted to play and do something different,” explained Wawrinka.
However, that proved useless to Wawrinka as his Spanish opponent went through the second set 6-3 in 44 minutes.
Nadal grasped his second match point as he led 5-1, 40-30 in the third set to finish his flawless fortnight performance at Roland Garros. He converted 6 of 13 break points in his final phase to achieve the 10th success.
After Wawrinka netted a backhand, Nadal threw himself onto the groud of the Philippe Chatrier Court with racquet away.
“There is not much to talk about the match. It’s a tough match, and a tough loss. I played against the biggest clay court player ever,” said Wawrinka.
“From the beginning I didn’t play my best tennis. I was a little bit hesitating with my selection of shots. So many reasons made that score today, but mainly because he was playing better,” he added.
At 31 years and 8 days, Nadal, only surrendering 35 games in seven matches at Roland Garros this year, also became the oldest player in history to win 15 Grand Slam titles.
He will earn a prize money of 2.1 million euros and 2000 ATP ranking points, enabling him to move up to No. 2 on world rankings to be updated on June 12, his highest since October 2014.
“Winning these kinds of titles, you have chances to become any number on the ranking. If I am able to keep playing well, why not?” Nadal pointed out.
Last year’s champion Novak Djokovic who are eliminated in the quarter-finals this year, on the contrary, will drop to world No. 4, his lowest since October 2009. Xinhua-northboundasia.com