French Open: Rafael Nadal Beats Casper Ruud For 14th Roland Garros Title

"It takes a lot of energy to keep going. I want to say 'merci, merci beaucoup'. I don't know what will happen in the future but I will keep fighting to keep going."

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French Open: Rafael Nadal Beats Casper Ruud For 14th Roland Garros Title - SportRazzi
French Open: Rafael Nadal Beats Casper Ruud For 14th Roland Garros Title.

Rafael Nadal reclaimed his title as French Open king, winning a record-extending 14th title in straight sets over Norway’s Casper Ruud. Nadal, 36, of Spain, defeated eighth seed Ruud 6-3 6-3 6-0 to extend his Grand Slam men’s singles title record to 22.

He is now two points ahead of his main rivals, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic. Nadal, who lost in the semi-finals to Djokovic last year, has won 112 of his 115 matches on the Paris clay.

Nadal has won back-to-back major titles for the first time since 2010, when he won the French Open, Wimbledon, and US Open in a row.

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Nadal becomes the oldest French Open men’s singles champion two days after his 36th birthday, surpassing fellow Spaniard Andres Gimeno, who won at the age of 34 in 1972.

After taking his second match point and winning in two hours and 18 minutes, the left-hander dropped his racquet to the court in awe.

Nadal’s accomplishments are even more impressive in light of the physical issues that have plagued him recently. The former world number one thought he’d have to retire at the end of last year due to a chronic foot problem, and he was bothered by it at the Italian Open earlier this month.

He also missed two months of the season due to a stress fracture in his rib, which occurred shortly after his 21st major victory at the Australian Open.

“It takes a lot of energy to keep going. I want to say ‘merci, merci beaucoup’. I don’t know what will happen in the future but I will keep fighting to keep going,” Nadal said after lifting the Coupe des Mousquetaires.

Ruud, 23, was making his Grand Slam final debut and faced Nadal in a professional match for the first time. While Nadal was not at his best, he had enough nous and quality to easily defeat his younger opponent.

Ruud’s miscue in the first point of the match may have indicated nerves, but he couldn’t stop Nadal from taking his serve for a 2-0 lead with a vicious forehand winner.

Nadal’s serve has been far from impenetrable, and he was broken in the following game after two double faults, which may have been indicative of his discomfort with his long-standing foot problem.

However, he regained the lead in the fourth game when Ruud’s groundstrokes – a wide backhand, an even wider forehand, and poor contact – let him down. Nadal held his serve for 48 minutes, frequently targeting his opponent’s backhand and forcing him into errors on his forehand.

With the exception of last year’s semi-final loss to Djokovic, Nadal had won 100 of the 101 previous matches at Roland Garros in which he had won the opening set. More pressure was applied to Ruud’s serve in the first game of the second set, and he saved three break points to hold.

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This allowed him to go up 3-1 when Nadal had a terrible service game, despite Ruud brilliantly constructing a point for 0-40 and hitting a double fault on the first break point. Nadal fought back immediately, patiently pummeling Ruud on the baseline and punching the air when a forehand went long.

After saving three set points, he double faulted on the fourth to give up a two-set lead. Nobody had ever beaten Rafael Nadal from that position at Roland Garros in 90 attempts, with only a few taking him to a fourth.

That never seemed likely, with Ruud’s confidence plummeting and Nadal ruthlessly completing the third set in just 30 minutes.

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