Rafael Nadal has dominated Roland Garros like no other player before him at any Major. Rafa won the title in Paris on a debut in 2005, competing in the French capital for 16 years and winning a mind-blowing 13 titles, with a 100-2 match record!
A former Roland Garros finalist Andy Murray has no doubts when saying that no one will ever catch Nadal's achievements in Paris, also appreciating how Nadal claimed the newest crown a month ago. In October, Rafa became the first player in the Open era with four Major titles won without losing a set, extending his dominance on the slowest surface and earning records that will take some beating in the future.
Overcoming cold weather and tough conditions, Rafa stormed over four rivals to reach the quarters, gaining confidence and finding his A-game ahead of more serious challenges. In the quarter-final, Nadal prevailed over the young Italian Jannik Sinner to set the clash against Diego Schwartzman.
The Argentine kept the Spaniard on the court for over three hours before falling 6-3, 6-3, 7-6, propelling Rafa into the 13th Roland Garros final. Nadal had to bring aggressive and bold tennis against the most formidable opponent in the title match, performing his masterplan and beating Novak Djokovic 6-0, 6-2, 7-5.
Nadal had 31 winners and 14 unforced errors, performing strongly from both wings and taking 51% of the return points to control the scoreboard. Novak sprayed 52 unforced errors, unable to find his best tennis for more than two hours and suffering a massive loss despite a solid effort in set number three.
Rafael Nadal claimed the 13th Roland Garros crown from 16 trips to Paris.
Rafa lost serve once, which was never enough to keep Novak safe, with the Serb leaving his mighty return in the locker room and having no idea how to deal with the opponent who demolished him in the shortest rallies up to four strokes.
Like in 2008 against Roger Federer, Nadal delivered a bagel to Novak in the opening set, playing almost flawless tennis and providing three breaks against the world's leading player, finishing it with an ace at 5-0 after 45 minutes.
Rafa faced no break chances 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 game of the third set and raised his level.
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 a few minutes later, providing 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, earning a break at 5-5 after a double fault from Novak and sealing the deal with a hold at love for a massive celebration of the 20th Major title.
"For me, Rafael Nadal's Roland Garros record will stay for good. I know how tough it is to win the crown in Paris, and I can't imagine someone as dominant as him. It's incredible, especially because of how easy he's made it look," Andy Murray said.