June 10, 2007: Rafael Nadal tops Roger Federer to celebrate in Paris



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June 10, 2007: Rafael Nadal tops Roger Federer to celebrate in Paris

Between 2005-2008, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer had forged a great rivalry at Roland Garros, playing in the semi-final of 2005 and in three straight finals in the following years, with Nadal emerging as a winner in all of those matches to establish his supremacy in Paris.

Just like in 2005 and 2006, Roger was able to take a set out of Rafa in 2007 final on June 10 but it wasn't enough for an overall win, with Nadal celebrating a 6-3 4-6 6-3 6-4 triumph in three hours and 10 minutes (2006 final lasted for more than three hours as well) for his third straight Roland Garros crown. Despite the fact he sealed the deal in four sets, Rafa had to work hard and produce his best tennis in order to topple Roger, saving unreal 16 out of 17 break points to limit the damage in his games and keep the pressure on the other side of the net.

Roger managed to outplay Nadal in the winners department but that proved not to be enough, spraying almost 60 unforced errors and missing a chance to at least force the fifth set and challenge Rafa to the limits. The Spaniard created 10 break points and he notched four breaks of serve to wrap up the title with just one set lost in seven matches.

Federer managed to avoid longer rallies in his games but Rafa spoiled his plans after creating a solid gap in the shortest points up to four strokes, overpowering his rival by a slim margin in the more extended exchanges as well to secure the win.

It was a fine start from the Swiss and a smash winner in game four gave him two break points, only to be denied by Nadal who saved them both and held after a backhand error from Roger. The Spaniard was yet to find his rhythm and he faced two more break points in game six, repelling them with good serves before Federer wasted the third opportunity with a huge forehand error that would cost him a lot.

Nadal saved two more break points before he finally held after a service winner to level the score at 3-3 and build his confidence. As usual in tennis, Roger was punished for so many chances spent and he got broken at love in game seven when his backhand found the net.

Nonetheless, more troubles were just around the corner for Rafa on his serve, saving three break points in game eight for another important hold and a 5-3 lead when Roger failed to return his serve. This took even more confidence from Roger's game and he suffered the second straight break in game nine to lose the opener 6-3 after a forehand winner from Rafa who saved all 10 break points he faced! Nadal was mighty relieved and he opened the second set with a much-needed easy hold, firing a cross court forehand winner and delivering another one in game three to stay in front.

Roger saved a break point in game four to level the score at 2-2 and he created a colossal chance of taking Rafa's serve in game seven when he earned three break points. The second one did the magic for Roger and he survived a tough eight game to move 5-3 ahead, saving three break points to put himself in the nice position to win the set.

Rafa saved four set points on serve in game nine but Federer closed the set after a forehand error from his rival in the 10th game. Rafa recovered instantly and he earned a break in the second game of the third set, making another good hold for a 3-0 lead when Roger sprayed a forehand error to find himself with a lot of work to be done if he wanted to climb back on the scoreboard.

That couldn't happen as Nadal sailed through his service games with ease to close the set with another powerful forehand in game nine, moving closer to a title defense. From 40-15 down in the second game of set number four, Roger won three straight point to create a break point, his 17th and the last in this match, but Nadal was not to be denied, landing a forehand down the line that stayed out of Federer's reach.

The momentum was entirely on Nadal's side now and he broke in game three after a poor forehand from Roger, making another big step towards the finish line. A service winner pushed Rafa 3-1 up and he held with ease in game six as well to keep himself in front.

Federer was unable to do something more on the return and the Spaniard held in game eight with a forehand winner for a 5-3 lead and the trophy was in Nadal's hands after another solid hold in game 10, falling to the ground when Roger's forehand landed long to start a huge celebration and keep his unbeaten status in Paris.

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