When Rafael Nadal destroyed Roger Federer for fourth Roland Garros crown



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When Rafael Nadal destroyed Roger Federer for fourth Roland Garros crown

There was nothing new in tennis in the spring of 2008. Rafael Nadal was a dominant figure during the clay swing for the fourth straight year. He conquered Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Hamburg and was a clear favorite to lift his fourth consecutive Roland Garros trophy at 22.

Rafa walked through the opening five matches in Paris, dropping 25 games in 15 sets and defeating Novak Djokovic in a more challenging semi-final clash to book a place in the fourth straight final in Paris. Like the previous two seasons, Roger Federer was there on the other side of the net, trying to spoil Nadal's perfect score at Roland Garros and grab the elusive Major crown running away from him.

Rafa defeated Roger in Paris in the previous three years, and the Swiss had no chance to end the losing streak in their fourth clash. On June 8, Nadal delivered a picture-perfect 6-1, 6-3, 6-0 triumph to celebrate the title without losing a set.

It was Federer's most brutal loss at Majors and the most one-sided Major final in Paris since 1977! Nadal needed an hour and 48 minutes to outplay his great rival for the third time in the finals in less than two months and notch his 11th win over Federer in 17 matches.

The Spaniard was in complete control from start to finish, losing serve once and stealing 60% of the return points to push Roger to the limits. Rafa produced 17 break points and seized eight to bring the victory home in style and celebrate his fourth Major title at such a young age.

The Swiss served at 69%, although that gave him nothing against a rock-solid rival on the other side of the net. Federer failed to impose his shots or do anything against Nadal's consolidated defense. Rafa had more winners and tamed his strokes beautifully, keeping his backhand safe and dictating the pace with a fearsome forehand that proved harmful to Roger on that day.

The Swiss was utterly overshadowed in every department.

Rafael Nadal lost only four games against Roger Federer at Roland Garros 2008.

He lost the edge in the shortest points where he should have hurt Rafa and faded from the court in the mid-range and more extended rallies to finish the encounter with just four games on his tally.

Nadal kicked off the final with a break when Federer sent an easy forehand wide and repelled two break points in game two to confirm the lead after a service winner. Roger saved two break points in game three to avoid an even more significant deficit, and Rafa held at love in the next one to open up a 3-1 advantage.

He was all over Roger, and a backhand winner delivered a break at love for him in game five. The Spaniard did everything right so far and moved a game away from the opening set after another comfortable hold in game six. A volley error cost Federer another service game, and Nadal had the first set in the bag after just 32 minutes.

The Spaniard was 60-1 after winning the opening set at Majors, and this certainly was not the day for him to suffer the second defeat. At the start of the second set, he held at love with a backhand down the line winner to extend his streak.

Roger was miles away from his best tennis, and he sprayed another forehand error in game two to drop serve and continue his downfall. He had no clue how to construct the points against the opponent who was on every ball and who responded with even stronger shots time and time again.

World no. 1 finally found something on the return in game three and broke back following Rafa's poor forehands. Federer held for 2-2 after fending off a break chance to get back on the positive side. The Swiss found the zone in those moments and created a break chance at 3-3 that could have moved him in front for the first time.

He could not catch Nadal's drop shot, and the Spaniard made a vital hold after the opponent's forehand mistake. A backhand down the line winner gave Rafa a crucial break in the eighth game, and he held at 15 in the next one with a service winner to open two sets to love lead and move closer to the finish line.

There was no way back for Roger from there. At the beginning of the third set, he wasted a game point to suffering another break when his forehand found the net. Rafa painted another forehand winner into an open court in game two and marched towards the crown.

The Spaniard's forehand looked better and better, and he secured another break in game three before holding at love for 4-0 and one hand on the trophy. Nadal's backhand was not far behind his left wing, and he hit one of those down the line to break Federer in the fifth game and serve for the title, setting everything for an unexpected bagel.

Hold at 30 sealed the deal for Rafa after Roger's forehand error, starting a massive celebration of his 28th straight win in Paris and one of the most significant ones in those four years.