Paris, Oct 11 (efe-epa).- Spanish tennis icon Rafael Nadal on Sunday notched his 13th French Open win over Serbia’s Novak Djokovic, triumphing over his rival 6-0, 6-2 and 7-5 in two hours and 41 minutes, thus equaling Switzerland’s Roger Federer with 20 Grand Slam titles to his credit.
It was a much simpler final round than expected for Nadal, going up against the world No. 1 player, and with the win he also secured his 100th triumph on the court in Paris.
“It’s not the time to think about the 20 majors or on records. It’s time to think about this tourney, which is everything for me. Just being able to play here is a pleasure,” Nadal said.
At age 34, the Spaniard won the Roland Garros, which had been postponed into the autumn due to the coronavirus pandemic, with cold and humid conditions in the French capital, but even so he managed to hold his dominant position within a tournament of which he quickly took ownership.
Nobody in history has ever won the same tourney 13 times, although Martina Navratilova won the Chicago contest 12 times.
Nadal becomes the fifth player in tennis history to exceed 100 victories in a major tournament, but he did so without the customary crowd in the stands due to pandemic gathering restrictions.
The Spaniard, who arrived in Paris having played just three games after the quarantine, showed at Roland Garros that he is still growing and handed Djokovic only his second defeat of the season, after he was disqualified from the US Open while playing countryman Pablo Carreño after he hit a ball in frustration but it struck a line judge in the neck, a disqualifying action.
Half an hour before the start of the match, an autumn rain was falling, making the Philippe Chatrier court unplayable, so the contest was moved indoors, just like the 2012 Australian Open.
Djokovic’s muscles seemed to be rather stiff during the match and he did not show his customary liveliness, and – more importantly – his attempts to find a niche to exploit in the Spaniard’s wall largely came to nought.
Although Djokovic’s serve – one of his most powerful weapons – wasn’t fully online for the match, that combined with the fact that he didn’t manage to break Nadal’s service until a half hour had elapsed and then wasn’t able to capitalize on it was also another factor weighing on the Serb’s game, and he lost the first set 6-0.
Although he improved his first-serve percentage and won a couple of games in the second set, Djokovic still wasn’t totally with it during the outing and Nadal’s reading of the net game was far better than his rival’s.
In the third set, Djokovic managed to pocket five games, but it still wasn’t enough to send the match into a fourth, and later perhaps a fifth, set, and on the way the Serb continued to make errors and never really managed to dismantle Nadal’s defense.