On this day: Rafael Nadal downs Novak Djokovic to match Roger Federer's record



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On this day: Rafael Nadal downs Novak Djokovic to match Roger Federer's record

On October 11, 2020, Rafael Nadal claimed the 20th Major title at his beloved Roland Garros to match Roger Federer's record and write history books. Giving his best to save a troubled season, Nadal overpowered seven rivals and raised himself above challenging conditions in Paris to lift the 13th Roland Garros trophy from 16 trips to the French capital.

Rafa won the title without losing a set for the fourth time at his favorite Major and became the third-oldest champion in the Open era after Ken Rosewall and Andres Gimeno. It was anything but a regular Roland Garros, with new balls and roof over the central court.

Above all that, Nadal had played only one tournament between Acapulco and Roland Garros, suffering the quarter-final loss in Rome and bouncing back to conquer Paris without losing a set! Getting broken only eight times in seven encounters, Nadal performed one of his best serving displays at beloved Major, pushing the rivals to the limits and enduring three tight sets against Jannik Sinner, Diego Schwartzman and Novak Djokovic to emerge at the top.

In the title clash, Nadal stormed over world no. 1 Djokovic 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 in two hours and 41 minutes on Court Philippe-Chatrier. It was Nadal's 100th victory in Paris from 102 encounters, still playing on a high level 15 years after securing his first Parisian crown.

Rafa had to be aggressive and focused against the most formidable opponent, producing his master plan and leaving Novak far behind, at least in the opening two sets.

Rafael Nadal defeated Novak Djokovic 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 in Paris for the 20th Major title.

Nadal finished the match with 31 winners and 14 unforced errors, performing strongly from both wings and stealing 51% of the return points.

Novak counted to 52 unforced errors, searching for his A-game for over two hours and not turning the tables around in the third despite a solid effort. Rafa dropped serve once, and that was never enough for Novak to keep comfortable, losing his mighty return's magic and having no idea how to deal with the opponent who demolished him in the shortest rallies up to four strokes.

Just like in 2008 against Roger Federer, Nadal delivered a bagel to Novak in the opener, playing almost flawless tennis and providing three breaks against the world's leading player to claim it with an ace at 5-0 after 45 minutes.

Rafa faced no break points in set number two, taming his strokes nicely and outplaying Djokovic on the return for another rock-solid set of tennis and a 6-0, 6-2 advantage after an hour and 34 minutes. Eager to avoid disaster, Djokovic saved a break point in the third set's third game and raised his level to reach 2-2.

Rafa broke him at love in game five, but instead of building on that, he gave the serve away for the first and only time in the next one to provide Djokovic with a necessary boost that made him a contender again. With no room for errors in his games, Nadal held comfortably in games eight, ten and 12 and earned a break at 5-5 after Novak's double fault before sealing the deal with a hold at love a few minutes later for a massive celebration.