(Update 1: Adds details and quotes)
Paris, Jun 5 (EFE).- Rafael Nadal clinched his record-extending 14th French Open title on Sunday, prevailing over Casper Ruud 6-3, 6-3 and 6-0 despite struggling with a nagging, chronic foot injury.
The Spaniard, thus, hoists his 22nd Grand Slam title, pulling two championships clear of his closest rivals: Novak Djokovic – whom Nadal ousted in the quarterfinals – and Roger Federer.
Nadal and Ruud exchanged blows early in the first set, but the Spanish tennis icon, who just celebrated his 36th birthday, got out in front of the Norwegian 4-1, which proved enough of a margin for him to take a one-set lead.
It seemed that the Spaniard would regret squandering a couple of break points in the early stages of the second set as he fell 3-1 behind his rival.
But ruthlessness was the name of the game, and Nadal recovered and proceeded to win 11 consecutive games to turn around the second set and then seal his 14th Roland Garros title in as many finals after two hours and 18 minutes.
This was the second ‘bagel’ Nadal had handed his rivals at the French Open finals. The first was against Federer in the 2008 championship match which ended 6-1, 6-3 and 6-0 for the Spaniard.
With the win on Sunday, Nadal became the oldest French Open champion, beating the previous record set by his countryman, the late Andres Gimeno, some 50 years ago at age 34.
“For me personally, it’s very difficult to describe the feelings that I have,” Nadal said during the trophy ceremony.
“It’s something that, for sure, I never believed (I’d) be here at 36 being competitive again. Playing on the most important court of my career one more time in the final means a lot to me, means a lot of energy to try to keep going,” added the player who has hinted at retirement.