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Rafael Nadal defeats Casper Ruud, wins 14th French Open title

Rafael Nadal of Spain holds his trophy after beating Casper Ruud of Norway in their French Open men's final match Sunday at Roland Garros in Paris. Photo by Maya Vidon-White/UPI
1 of 8 | Rafael Nadal of Spain holds his trophy after beating Casper Ruud of Norway in their French Open men's final match Sunday at Roland Garros in Paris. Photo by Maya Vidon-White/UPI | License Photo

June 5 (UPI) -- No. 5 seed Rafael Nadal crushed Casper Ruud in straight sets Sunday to capture his 14th French Open championship and 22nd Grand Slam title overall.

Nadal, who turned 36 on Friday, overwhelmed the eighth-seeded Ruud 6-3, 6-3, 6-0 in the men's final at Roland Garros, becoming the oldest winner in the history of the clay-court major tournament. Previously, the oldest champion in French Open history was Andres Gimeno, who was 34 when he won in 1972.

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"For me, personally, it's very difficult to describe the feelings that I have," said Nadal, who also thanked his family and support team during the trophy ceremony. "It's something that I, for sure, never believed -- to be here at 36, being competitive again, playing in the most favorite court of my career, one more time in the final.

"It means a lot to me. Means everything. ... I don't know what can happen in the future, but I'm going to keep fighting to try to keep going."

After Nadal captured the first set, Ruud led 3-1 in the second -- a deficit that triggered Nadal to raise his level of play. The Spaniard then took the last 11 games.

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Nadal's six games lost in Sunday's match at Court Philippe Chatrier are tied for his second fewest in a Grand Slam final. He has won six major finals in which he has conceded less than 10 games, breaking a tie with Richard Sears for the most by any male player in tennis history.

Nadal, who improved to 14-0 in finals at Roland Garros and 112-3 overall at the tournament, compiled more than twice as many winners as Ruud, 37 to 16. The Spaniard also committed fewer unforced errors, making just 16 to Ruud's 26.

Nadal's first victory in Paris came at age 19 in 2005. He also collected the trophy at Roland Garros from 2006-08, 2010-14 and 2017-20.

"You are a true inspiration for me, for everyone who follows tennis around the world," said Ruud, the first man from Norway to reach a Grand Slam final. "So I hope -- we all hope -- that you will continue for some more time."

Nadal's 22nd overall Grand Slam championship puts him two ahead of rivals Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic. Federer hasn't played in about a year after a series of knee surgeries.

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Moments from the French Open tennis tournament

Rafael Nadal of Spain holds his trophy after his French Tennis Open's final match against Casper Ruud of Norway, at Roland Garros, outside Paris, France, on Sunday, June 5, 2022. Nadal won the title 6-3, 6-3, 6-0. Photo by Maya Vidon-White/UPI | License Photo

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