Rafael Nadal has joined Roger Federer at the top of the all time men’s Grand Slam winners tree, after he beat Novak Djokovic 6-0 6-2 7-5 to win his thirteenth Roland Garros title.
Perhaps most impressively the Spaniard has managed to win this year’s crown without dropping a set en route, despite today facing a man who had not lost a completed match all year.
The victory is Nadal’s 20th Grand Slam title, an achievement Roger Federer made at the 2018 Australian Open when he won his most recent slam.
The outcome of this afternoon’s match seemed inevitable from quite early on.
Djokovic came into the final having lost three sets in the tournament, and had to dig deep to win a five set thriller against fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in his semi final on Friday.
The start was the worst possible for the world number one who, despite having three break point chances of his own, lost a 50 minute set without a game to even show for it.
Nadal’s sublime perfection on a clay court should be no surprise to a Roland Garros audience by now, but playing under a roof in October made the environment a far from normal one.
It was still very much the Nadal show however, and he managed to carry momentum from the first set and break the Serbian’s serve twice in the second set to take it 6-2.
The first two sets perhaps may have disappointed the reduced number of fans in the Philippe Chatrier arena, though the third set did at least provide a bit more competition for the audience.
It looked like curtains had been drawn on the match when world number two Nadal broke Djokovic for a sixth time to take a 3-2 lead.
However, the last time these two played at Roland Garros it was Djokovic who cruised past Nadal in 2015, and Djokovic certainly still had a little more in the tank today.
The Australian Open champion broke back instantly, winning his first of five break point chances in the match.
The match then for the first time saw four back to back service holds to take the third set to 5-5, but it was Rafael Nadal who nicked the all important break at set himself up serving for the title.
It seemed appropriate that a dominating performance from Nadal would end in that fashion, and the number two seed held to love and hit an ace on Championship point.
After the match on equalling Federer’s record of 20 Grand Slam singles titles, Nadal said: “It’s been a very tough year, but winning here means everything to me.
“This is not the moment to think about equalling Roger on this great number, but for me today is just a Roland Garros victory.
“Roland Garros means everything to me.”
Novak Djokovic sits behind Federer and Nadal on 17 Slam titles, but with Federer now at 38 years old and having to miss a large chunk of play due to knee surgery. the Serbian will certainly still fancy his chances at moving up the Grand Slam ladder.