Following that shocking 2009 defeat to Robin Soderling, Rafael Nadal claimed the fifth Roland Garros crown a year later, ousting the Swiss in the title match. Rafa added the sixth Roland Garros trophy to his tally in 2011 and became the second player with that many Major titles in Paris after Bjorn Borg.
Like in 2006, 2007 and 2008, Nadal beat Roger Federer in the title match to lift the tenth Major trophy after just turning 25! The famous coach Paul Annacone worked with Roger in those years, revealing that his player had the opportunity to beat Rafa that year in Paris, as the Spaniard did not fancy lite and fast balls.
Nadal did not lose a set en route to his 2010 title, and it all changed already in the first encounter in 2011. Rafa needed four hours to prevail over John Isner 6-4, 6-7, 6-7, 6-2, 6-4, challenged like never before in the French capital!
Rafa should have won the match earlier, playing against only one break chance and creating 15 on the other side, converting five to escape the defeat and remain on the title course. In the second round, Nadal spent almost three hours and 20 minutes on the court against the fellow Spaniard Pablo Andujar in a 7-5, 6-3, 7-6 victory!
Andujar created 16 break opportunities, converting five but failing to take at least a set, as Nadal grabbed the crucial points and prevailed in three sets to avoid a possible five-hour marathon. After almost seven and a half hours on the court in the opening two rounds, Nadal scored a more convincing triumph over Antonio Veic, entering the last 16 and toppling another Croat Ivan Ljubicic in straight sets for a place in the quarters.
Robin Soderling stood no chance against Nadal in Paris for the second consecutive year, failing to match the Spaniard's record and propelling the defending champion into the semis.
Rafael Nadal had to work hard to win the 2011 Roland Garros title.
Rafa battled hard to prevail over Andy Murray in three hours and 17 minutes, repelling 15 out of 18 break chances against the opponent who pushed him to the limits in one of his finest Parisian displays.
Saving enough energy for the title clash, Rafa took down Roger Federer 7-5, 7-6, 5-7, 6-1 in three hours and 40 minutes for a milestone Major title. The Spaniard overcame a 5-2 deficit in the first set and prevailed in the second for a massive lead against the most significant rival, who was ready to challenge him following that epic victory over Novak Djokovic in the semis.
Roger claimed the third set but had nothing more left in the tank, taking only one game in set number four to hand the trophy to Rafa, who passed all the obstacles to extend the Parisian reign. "I think Roger had a good chance of beating Rafa at Roland Garros 2011, following that victory over Novak, who had not lost a match up to that point.
Roger had a 5-2 lead over Rafa in the opening set, liking the conditions and taking advantage of the light and fast balls that Rafa was not happy about. Rafa being Rafa, he found a way to solve the problem and beat Roger in four sets, although the Swiss had some good chances," Paul Annacone said.