French Open: Rafael Nadal claims his eighth Roland Garros title against David Ferrer
By Razwan Mirza - Tweet me: @RazMirza. Last Updated: June 10, 2013 7:37am
Rafael Nadal claimed an historic eighth French Open title after defeating compatriot David Ferrer 6-3 6-2 6-3 in a one-sided encounter.
The defending champion Nadal became the undisputed 'King of Clay' after winning the same major eight times and his 12th Grand Slam title overall.
He has now won 59 out of 60 matches at Roland Garros and has been the sensation of 2013, winning 43 of 45 matches and seven titles since his return in February from a seven-month injury lay-off to rest his troublesome knees.
On a chilly, overcast day in the French capital, the damp conditions didn't worry Nadal, who was coming into the clash after a gruelling near-five-hour epic semi-final against Novak Djokovic.
He broke in the third game of the opening set after a couple of unforced errors from his opponent, but Valencia-based Ferrer struck back immediately, taking advantage on his second break point as Nadal netted his backhand following a scintillating tug-of-war rally.
However, the left-hander from Mallorca stepped up a gear in the seventh game to open up a 4-3 lead before closing out the set.
It was the first time Ferrer, who was playing in his first Grand Slam final at the 42nd time of asking, had dropped a set at Roland Garros this year.
The odds were stacked against fourth seed Ferrer after he was broken on his first service game of the second set when Nadal ripped a forehand winner down the line.
With rain drops falling on Court Philippe Chatrier, the man nicknamed 'Little Beast' for his durability around the court failed to take advantage of four break points at 3-1 in the longest game of the match, and Nadal, who turned 27 last Monday, sensed blood.
He broke again with a forehand which landed deep in Ferrer's end of the court before play was disrupted by a protester carrying a flare who jumped onto the court but was quickly tackled by security staff.
That incident clearly affected third seed Nadal, who was broken to 15, but that didn't bother him too much as he hit back in the next game by breaking to love to take the set 6-2.
Nadal, who spent nearly 17 hours on court in Paris over the last two weeks, was in a hurry to end the match as he quickly moved into a 2-0 lead in the third set, but there was still life in the final after an error-strewn game allowed Ferrer back in.
But at 4-3, a double fault from Ferrer gifted the chance for Nadal to serve out the match and he did so with another forehand winner before falling to the red dirt in celebration of his 57th career title and his 42nd on his favourite surface.
Nadal, who will drop behind Ferrer to No 5 in the world despite his victory, was presented with the Coupe des Mousquetaires by sprint king Usain Bolt.
He now moves past Bjorn Borg and Rod Laver and into a tie for third with Roy Emerson on 12 major titles, behind only Pete Sampras (14) and Roger Federer (17).