Rafael Nadal claimed his fourth consecutive Roland Garros crown in 2008 following a memorable triumph over Roger Federer in the title clash! The spring of 2008 saw nothing new in men's tennis, with Nadal as the dominant figure during the clay swing.
The Spaniard conquered Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Hamburg and came to Paris as a clear favorite. Rafa proved that in the opening five encounters, losing 25 games in 15 sets (!!) and setting the semi-final clash against Novak Djokovic.
The Serb gave him a proper test, and the Spaniard passed it to arrange his third consecutive Roland Garros final versus Roger Federer. Rafa again proved too strong for the world's best player in Paris, sealing the deal 6-1, 6-3, 6-0 in dominant style and conquering the title without losing the set.
It was the most one-sided Roland Garros final since 1977 and Federer's worst result in a Major final. Nadal needed an hour and 48 minutes to outplay his great rival for the third time in the title clashes in under two months, notching his 11th win over Federer in 17 encounters.
Rafa was in complete control from start to finish, losing serve once and stealing 60% of the return points to push Roger to the limits. The Spaniard created 17 break points and converted eight to bring the match home in style and celebrate his fourth Major title.
Federer served at 69%, but that gave him nothing against a rock-solid rival on the other side. The Swiss failed to impose his shots or do anything against Nadal's concrete defense. Rafa had more winners and tamed his strokes beautifully, keeping his backhand safe and dictating the pace with his fearsome forehand.
The Swiss was completely overpowered in every department. 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 collect just four games.
Rafael Nadal dropped only four games against Roger Federer at Roland Garros 2008.
Nadal kicked off the match with a break when Federer sent an easy forehand wide. The defending champion saved two break points in game two to confirm his lead after a service winner.
Roger denied two break points in game three to avoid a more significant deficit. However, Rafa held at love in the next one to open up a 3-1 advantage, doing everything right in the opening games of the match. He was all over Roger, and a backhand winner delivered a break at love for him in game five and sent him 4-1 ahead.
The Spaniard produced a commanding hold for 5-1 and wrapped up the set with another break a few minutes later after the Swiss' loose volley. Rafa was 60-1 at Majors after winning the opening set, and this was not the day he would experience the second loss.
Nadal held at love at the start of the second set with a backhand down the line winner and extended his streak. Playing miles below his best, Federer sprayed a forehand error in the second game. Thus, he experienced a break and found himself 6-1, 2-0 down in no time, having no clue how to construct the points against the opponent who was on every ball.
Roger finally found something on the return in game three, breaking back following Rafa's poor forehands. The Swiss saved a break point in the fourth game and held for 2-2, already doing better than in the opener. Federer earned a break point in game seven that could have pushed him in front for the first time.
However, he could not catch Nadal's drop shot, and the Spaniard held after a forehand error from his opponent. Rafa stepped in on the return in the next one and fired a backhand down the line winner, giving him a crucial break and a 5-3 lead.
The defending champion held at 15 with a service winner in game nine to wrap up the set and move closer to the finish line. There was no way back for Roger from there! He wasted a game point at the start of the third set to suffer another break when his forehand found the net.
Rafa placed another forehand winner to the open court in game two to confirm the lead and march toward the end. The Spaniard's forehand was on fire in those moments. He broke again in game three to extend the lead and held at love in the next one to open a 4-0 gap and put one hand on the trophy.
Nadal hit a bullet from his backhand in the fifth game to steal Federer's serve and serve for the title. A hold at 30 sealed the deal for Rafa after Roger's forehand error, starting a massive celebration after becoming the first player with four consecutive Roland Garros crowns since Bjorn Borg.
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