(June 8, 2014) Rafael Nadal captured his ninth French Open title, his 14 major title by defeating No. 2 Novak Djokovic 3-6, 7-5, 6-2, 6-4 on Sunday in Paris in three hours and 31 minutes. For Nadal it’s a record breaking five straight French Open titles, a 66-1 record at Roland Garros and a 35 match winning streak in Paris.
In capturing his 14 major, the twenty-eighth-year-old Spaniard has won his 64th tournament title. He is tied with Pete Sampras for second on the all-time list of major tournament titles, three behind Roger Federer who has 17. Nadal has one at least one major for the ten straight years.
Nadal lifts his record against Djokovic to 23-19, a perfect 5-0 when playing him at Roland Garros. He is now 4-3 in major finals against the Serb. Djokovic won at Wimbledon and the US Open in 2011 and at the 2012 Australian Open, while Nadal won at the 2010 US Open, 2012 Roland Garros, the 2013 US Open and Roland Garros.
“For me playing here in Roland Garros is just unforgettable, forever,” Nadal said.
Djokovic won the first set, after breaking Nadal in the eighth game and saving break points in the ninth for 6-3.
Nadal broke Djokovic in the 12th game to win the second set 7-5. In the third set, Nadal jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the third and broke serve again to take the set 6-2.
Djokovic had two chances to get the break back in the third set, in the fifth game and in the seventh, but Nadal held both times and then broke serve again in the final game for 6-2.
In the fourth set Nadal broke Djokovic in the sixth game to take a 4-2 lead, but the Serb broke back and held to even the set at 4-4. Nadal held for 5-4 and won the match when Djokovic double-faulted on match point.
“It was a great start; came back in the second,”Djokovic said in his post-match interview with media. “Could have gone to the tiebreak and was quite even. I lost that service game 6 5, and then the momentums went his side.
“I started, you know, playing quite bad, you know, and didn’t move as well. Struggled a little bit physically throughout that third set.
“Then in the fourth started to feel a little bit better, but then just crucial points he played better. I wasn’t playing at the level that I wanted, especially in the second part of the match.
“You know, that’s sport. It’s how it is. These kind of big matches obviously take the best out of players. And of course it’s a huge challenge. I tried to do my best. My best wasn’t as the best against him in Rome a couple weeks ago.
“But, you know, it’s how it is. Congratulations to him. He was a better player in the crucial moments. Of course it’s disappointing for me, but life goes on. It’s not the first time or last time that I lost a match.”
“Without that second set, I don’t know if I have this trophy with me now,” Nadal said.
“He deserves to win this tournament,” Nadal said. “I am sure he will do it in the future.”
For his efforts, Nadal will receive €1,650,000 in prize money. He will remain No. 1 in the world.
At 45 clay court singles titles, Nadal is one title away from equaling the record of Guillermo Vilas at 46.