Historic eighth French Open title for Rafael Nadal

June 9, 2013 at 11:59 AM
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PARIS, June 9 (UPI) -- Rafael Nadal topped fellow Spaniard David Ferrer in straight sets Sunday to win the French Open men's singles championship for the eighth time.

The victory gave Nadal the most men's singles titles ever won at a single Grand Slam event and a dozen career Grand Slam championships.

Nadal kept Ferrer at arm's length the entire match and put him away while serving double match point. Ferrer got a racket on Nadal's final blistering serve and chipped it back but he was leaning toward center court as Nadal returned to the sideline and never had a chance.

Nadal fell happily backward onto the court as the final point was rung up and collected a patch of red Parisian clay on the back of his shirt to go along with the coveted Musketeers Trophy presented annually to the French Open men's singles champ.

Nadal won 64 percent of his first-serve points in the match and served five aces to one for Ferrer. He won half of his break-points while Ferrer was 3-for-12 on breaks.

Nadal improved to 59-1 at Roland Garros with a fourth-round loss to Robin Soderling in 2009 right in the middle between his twin streaks of four straight French Open titles. He matched the all-time record for French Open championships set by Max Decugis from 1903-14.

Only twice before -- Paul Ayme (1897-1900) and Bjorn Borg (1978-81) -- had anyone won the event four consecutive years. Nadal has done it twice.

It was his 12th overall Grand Slam title, moving him past Borg for No. 3 on the all-time list of major tournament winners, behind Roger Federer (17) and Pete Sampras (14).

A knee injury kept Nadal off the court for the second half of 2012 and the early stages of this year but since he's returned he's 43-2 over nine tournaments with seven titles and two runner-up finishes. The French Open was his 57th ATP title, with 42 coming on clay.

He's tied with Ilie Nastase for ninth-most in total championships and second most (behind Guillermo Vilas, 46) on clay courts.

Nadal moved to 20-4 all-time versus Ferrer, running his current winning streak versus his countryman to nine matches, four of which have been this year.

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