6 Jun 2011

Nadal wins sixth French Open title

6:26 am on 6 June 2011

Rafael Nadal sealed a record-equalling sixth French Open title with a 7-5 7-6 5-7 6-1 win over Roger Federer to continue his dominance on clay over his great rival.

The victory meant the Spaniard equals Bjorn Borg's men's singles record at Roland Garros while it also made sure he would remain world number one amid pressure from Novak Djokovic.

Swiss Federer, who was bidding to beat Nadal in Paris for the first time in five attempts, raced into a 5-2 lead in the first set and squandered a set point before errors crept into his play as the top seed turned the screw with some exceptional recovery shots.

Nadal rattled off seven games in a row to move 2-0 ahead in the second set as gasps went around a packed crowd on Court Philippe Chatrier, who were mainly supporting record 16-times grand slam champion Federer.

A slow start to the two-week tournament by Nadal was long forgotten by the time two of the greats of the game came to clash in the final after third seed Federer had ended second seed Djokovic's 41-match winning streak in 2011 in the semis.

Like so many of their epic duels down the years, this was another match full of exhilarating rallies and spellbinding winners but "King of Clay" Nadal deservedly prevailed.

Nadal, who has only ever lost one match in his seven years at the French Open, gave Federer a glimmer of a chance in the second set but easily won the tiebreak 7-3.

Federer battled back from 4-2 down in the third with some sublime tennis to extend the contest and had 0-40 on Nadal's opening service game in the fourth set.

However, Nadal roared back to claim his 10th grand slam title when a resigned Federer hit a forehand long, the emotional Spaniard dropping to his knees in celebration.