Rafael Nadal has claimed the Roland-Garros trophy at the French Open 2011 after beating Roger Federer in Paris on Sunday 5th June 2011. The Spaniard, who turned 25 this week has now equalled Bjorn Borg’s record of six Roland Garros titles.
The final scores were: 7-5, 7-6 (7-3), 5-7, 6-1
Federer had a chance to win the first set which he lost on a set point which was called out. Nadal then fought back to take the initiative, having been 5-2 and a set point down.
Following this dramatic turnaround, it looked, early in the second set that Nadal had knocked the fight from Roger Federer, despite the Swiss having the bulk of the Paris crowd behind him.
However, despite going behind to an early break, Federer fought back to end the second set 6-6 on a tiebreaker. This, it was felt, was crucial, if Federer was to keep a foothold in this match, as few players fight back from 2-0 against Rafa Nadal’s power hitting.
Unfortunately for Federer fans, Nadal reserved – as ever – his very best tennis for this key moment, and quickly raced away to a 4-0 lead in the ‘breaker, though, admitedly, it was more through resilience than winners, as Federer hit the net with shots he would have expected, ordinarily, to return with interest.
Nadal soon took the second set, and led 2-0.
Federer had been at least matching Nadal, however, as the fans who watched Nadal’s Semi-Final against Andy Murray learned, at Roland Garros, the Spaniard seems almost galvanised at times, and times his moment to perfection. Nadal knows when to hold his cards, and when to fold them. Up until this point, Nadal and Federer had had the same number of break points – yet Nadal led 2-0.
However, those stats indicate that Federer was playing at a high level. He was. In the third set, he got himself in front, and stayed there, to lift the set 7-5, though Nadal forced him right to the wire once more, making every single point an arduous battle.
That extra effort Federer had been forced through paid off in the fourth – and decisive – set. Federer, in Nadal’s first service game of the set, had his opponent at 0-40. Three break points. Nadal reached inside and pulled out his very best tennis to get back to deuce, then take thisa game.
He had reached a new level, while Federer began to falter once more faced with Rafa at his brilliant best.
Federer’s nerve began to waver with an uncharacteristic double fault and an easily lost game.
Nadal’s championship shot was a tired-looking Federer return which went long. Nadal fell to his knees to celebrate his second Roland Garros title in a row, and seventh in total.