Two greats of the game, Rafa Nadal and Serena Williams, stormed to victory in their respective Finals and in the process go their mitts on the French Open singles titles. The simply exceptional Nadal crushed the brave David Ferrer in Paris to secure a record-breaking eighth Coupe des Mousquetaires, while Williams clinched her third major trophy in only her last four Slam appearances.
At just 27 years of age, Nadal is already the greatest clay court player to have ever graced the surface. No other player has won a single Grand Slam eight times, let alone on clay, with his closest challenger Bjorn Borg, who won six times between 1974 and 1981. In what was his first Grand Slam since Wimbledon the Spaniard has now taken his remarkable tally to 59 wins out of 60 matches on the clay courts of Roland Garros. Such is the dominance and class of Nadal he has restricted Roger Federer, who is widely regarded as the greatest player of all time, to just a single French Open title.
Nadal’s comeback from injury has been nothing short of sensational. His latest French Open win was incredibly his seventh title in just nine tournaments, during which he has 43 wins and just two defeats, a staggering return. Nadal will now have his sights set on winning Wimbledon for the third time in six years.
Despite failing to win a set in his first Slam Final, Ferrer can look back on the tournament with immense pride and satisfaction. The Spaniard has moved up to fourth in the world rankings and will head to Wimbledon full of confidence. In contrast, Roger Federer will be disappointed at his straight sets loss to Jo-Wilfred Tsonga in the quarter-finals, although he will be eagerly anticipating the grass court season and a return to the sanctuary of SW19.
Djokovic fought tooth and nail in his epic five set semi-final defeat to Nadal. The World No.1 came agonisingly close to becoming only the second player to beat the Spaniard at Roland Garros, but he will now have to wait until next year to try and get his hands on his first French Open title – which is the only one missing from his rapidly growing collection.
Meanwhile over on the women’s side of the game, the dominant Serena Williams is currently enjoying some of the best tennis of her life. The American’s French Open win took her tally to 16 Slams, and within two of Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert. She is currently on a stunning unbeaten run of 33 matches and amazingly hasn’t lost to rival Maria Sharapova since 2004, which is a run of 13 meetings.
Surprisingly it was only Williams’ second success at Roland Garros, with her first coming way back in 2002. Sharapova will be bitterly disappointed at failing to retain her title but in fairness there is nothing any player can do against Williams in tip top form. However, the Russian too is in fine form, having reached at least the semi-final stage in seven of her last nine tournaments, during which she was won the French Open and finished runner-up at the tournament, Wimbledon and the Australian Open. She will now be gunning to reach her second successive Wimbledon Final and win on grass for the first time since her maiden Slam win there in 2004.