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Last Updated: Sunday, 11 June 2006, 16:19 GMT 17:19 UK
Nadal ends Federer dream in Paris
Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal
Nadal (r) has now won six of his seven matches against Federer
Rafael Nadal retained his French Open title and ended Roger Federer's hopes of holding all four Grand Slam titles at once with a four-set win on Sunday.

The 20-year-old Spaniard became the first man to beat Federer in a Grand Slam final, winning 1-6 6-1 6-4 7-6 (7-4) in three hours two minutes.

Federer suffered an alarming slump in form after an impressive first set.

And Nadal took full advantage, dominating for three sets and sealing victory on his first match point.

"This is a fantastic victory and an incredible moment in my career as a tennis player," said Nadal.

"Federer is the best player in history, no other player has ever had such quality."

Nadal has now won 60 consecutive matches on clay and is unbeaten at Roland Garros with a 14-0 record after winning on his debut last year.

Rafael is s so hard to beat on this surface, he truly deserves to win

Roger Federer

It was a huge anti-climax for Federer, who failed to maintain anything like his best form as he tried to join Don Budge and Rod Laver as the only men to hold all four Grand Slam titles at the same time.

The Swiss star went into the match with a poor 1-5 record against Nadal but insisted he was confident of turning things around.

He made a nervous start, slipping 15-40 down in his opening service game, but coming through to hold seemed to instil belief in the Swiss star.

Federer broke Nadal immediately and then repeated the effort to go 5-0 up on his way to taking the first set.

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It was at that point that the enormity of what could happen appeared to hit Federer, and his game unravelled.

Nadal had missed five break points in the first set but finally converted his seventh to go 2-0 up in the second set and he raced through it to level.

A total of 16 unforced errors from Federer told the story of the second set and it was a similar story in the third.

Federer's big chance came with three break points in game four but Nadal held from 0-40 and then broke in the following game.

The Spaniard served out the set and when he broke early in the fourth the title appeared to be his.

There was one last effort from a low-key Federer, with Nadal feeling the pressure when serving for the title at 5-4.

But it was only a momentary blip from the 20-year-old, who took control of the tie-break with four straight points and clinched the match with a winning forehand.

"I really want to congratulate Rafael," said Federer afterwards. "He is so strong on clay and played a really good match. He is so hard to beat on this surface.

"He's performed a great season on clay and during the fortnight. He truly deserves to win."

SEE ALSO
Federer rues missed opportunity
11 Jun 06 |  Tennis
French Open men's final photos
11 Jun 06 |  Photo Galleries
Gamewatch: Federer v Nadal
11 Jun 06 |  Tennis
Men's singles draw
26 May 06 |  Tennis
Women's singles draw
26 May 06 |  Tennis
French Open schedule
27 May 06 |  Tennis
French Open on the BBC
27 Apr 06 |  Tennis
Nadal's tactics
30 May 06 |  Skills


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