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Nadal marches past Djokovic to historic 13th French Open title

Sports Lounge Staff

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Nadal vs Djokovic

Paris: Rafael Nadal sensationally won a historic 13th French Open crown under a closed roof on Court Philippe-Chatrier on Sunday, which also marked his 100th match win at the clay-court major championship.

The Spanish superstar won a tactical masterclass against World No. 1 and 2016 titlist Novak Djokovic of Serbia 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 to capture a record-equalling 20th major singles trophy to draw level with all-time leader Roger Federer.

Nadal dropped to his knees in celebration, after striking an ace for victory in their ninth Grand Slam championship final. It was his 26th win over Djokovic and his first since May 2019 in the Internazionali BNL d’Italia final in Rome.

The 34-year-old, who improves to a 22-4 record on the 2020 season, is now just one match win away from becoming the fourth player to record 1,000 career victories — and joining Jimmy Connors (1,274), Federer (1,242) and Ivan Lendl (1,068).

Djokovic, who committed 52 unforced errors in his attempt to clinch an 18th major crown, is now 37-2 on the season, which includes four titles at the Australian Open (d. Thiem), the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships (d. Tsitsipas), the Western & Southern Open held in New York (d. Raonic) and Rome (d. Schwartzman).

Nadal combated Djokovic’s ploy to drop shot and force the Spaniard into the net, with groundstroke depth and a willingness to strike forehand winners on the run to keep the World No. 1 behind the baseline.

Through two sets, Nadal had committed just eight unforced errors to put Djokovic under extreme pressure in their 56th ATP Head2Head meeting.

Djokovic first-serve winning percentage improved significantly in a high-quality third set, from as low as 30 per cent in the first set, and he became a different player when he broke Nadal for the first time at 2-3.

Djokovic started to mix up his tactics and, on occasion, serve and volleyed, but struck his fourth double fault at 5-5, 30/40, to hand Nadal’s a golden chance for his historic victory in Paris. Nadal finished with an ace, his third of the encounter.

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