The Roland Garros final clash between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic was one of the most important encounters of the 21st century. Nadal sought the 20th Major crown, while Djokovic fought for the 18th, hoping to reduce the gap to Nadal and Federer even more.
Despite difficult conditions and a mighty opponent on the other side, Nadal was ready to extend his Parisian reign, overcoming all the issues and a roof above his head to score a dominant victory. Rafa's 13th Roland Garros title came following a 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 triumph in two hours and 41 minutes, earning the 100th win in Paris from 102 matches!
Nadal said he grabbed the pivotal moments; otherwise, it could have been a different outcome, even in the opening two sets, considering the rival on the other side of the net. Nadal got broken eight times in seven matches, and Djokovic couldn't find the return magic that would challenge the rival.
Thus, Rafa became the third-oldest Roland Garros winner at 34, securing his fourth Major crown without losing a set and joining Federer on 20 Major titles, hoping to pass the Swiss in 2021. Against Novak, Rafa had 31 winners and 14 unforced errors, controlling his strokes nicely and stealing 51% of the return points to grab seven breaks from 18 opportunities and leave Novak behind.
Djokovic couldn't find his A-game for over two hours, spraying 50 unforced errors and failing to match Nadal's pace in the opening two sets.
Rafael Nadal knew he had to play at his best against Novak Djokovic in Paris.
Rafa destroyed Novak in the shortest range up to four strokes, earning his victory in that segment as they stayed close to each other in the more advanced exchanges.
Delivering his best tennis right from the start, Rafa grabbed a break in the encounter's first game when Novak's backhand landed long. The Spaniard seized another break at 2-0 to increase the lead after 20 minutes and painted a backhand crosscourt winner at 4-0 to extend the gap.
Rafa held at 15 in game six to wrap up the opener with a bagel, still needing 41 minutes to achieve that. The defending champion earned two breaks in set number two and held at 30 in game eight with a service winner to forge a 6-0, 6-2 advantage in an hour and 34 minutes.
They stayed neck and neck until 5-5 in the third after trading breaks, with Novak hitting a double fault in that 11th game to lose serve and propel Rafa towards the title after another fine hold a few minutes later. "Against Novak, I stepped on the court convinced I could play at my 100%.
The scoreboard was one-sided, but there were crucial moments that could have changed everything, even in the opening two sets," Rafael Nadal said.