Rafael Nadal moves closer to Roger Federer's exclusive Major record

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Rafael Nadal moves closer to Roger Federer's exclusive Major record

Reaching a Major final will make any season notable and respectable, regardless of the other results. Competing for a Major crown is a special feeling for every player, standing so close to the tennis glory. One season with a Major final is excellent, but achieving more than ten is exceptional, making you a contender at the most prominent tennis events for a decade or more!

Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi and Ivan Lendl are the only players in the Open era with 11 or more seasons with one Major final, with no one to join this exclusive company any time soon.

In 2020, Novak Djokovic, Dominic Thiem, Alexander Zverev and Rafael Nadal were the Major finalists, with Nadal and Djokovic continuing their climb through the list, collecting 12 and 14 seasons, respectively. Since 2007, Novak has failed to reach a Major final only in 2009 and 2017, adding 12 seasons to his tally to pass Andre Agassi and Ivan Lendl.

On the other hand, Nadal has been a Major finalist in 14 of the previous 16 seasons, missing the honor only in 2015 and 2016, his worst years since becoming one of the world's best players. Thus, Nadal has moved one season behind Roger Federer who stands on 15, hoping to catch the Swiss in 2021 if he maintains this level.

At his beloved Roland Garros, Nadal claimed the 13th title in the previous 16 years, winning 100 out of 102 encounters in Paris for the ultimate domination that should stay for good. Seeking the 28th Major final and the 13th in Paris, Nadal defeated Diego Schwartzman 6-3, 6-3, 7-6 in three hours and nine minutes, maintaining a perfect score in Roland Garros semi-finals.

After the Rome loss to the Argentine, Nadal knew what he had to do in Paris, delivering an aggressive approach and keeping the points on his racquet. Rafa forged a 6-3, 6-3, 4-2 advantage before Diego bounced back to make Nadal run for his money.

Rafael Nadal is the second player with 14 different seasons with one Major final.

Schwartzman pulled the break back twice, leveled the score at 5-5 and had three break chances in game 11 that could have sent him in front.

Nadal saved those with perfect forehand winners, reaching the tie break and winning it 7-0 in a manner of a true champion. Seeking the 20th Major crown, Nadal defeated Novak Djokovic 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 in an hour and 41 minutes, lifting the 13th trophy in Paris and joining Roger Federer at the top of the GOAT race.

Rafa earned his 100th Roland Garros triumph after a dominant performance in the opening two sets, overpowering Novak and sealing the deal in set number three. Nadal finished the match with 31 winners and 14 unforced errors, stealing 51% of the return points to forge the crucial advantage against the rival who sprayed more than 50 unforced errors.

Rafa lost serve once, staying in front and outplaying Novak with aggressive shotmaking in the shortest range up to four strokes that secured the victory for him.