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Page last updated at 15:05 GMT, Sunday, 8 June 2008 16:05 UK
Roland Garros, Paris, 25 May-8 June

By Piers Newbery


Federer could do nothing to stop Nadal winning a fourth title

Rafael Nadal thrashed world number one Roger Federer to win a fourth successive French Open title on Sunday.

The Spaniard, 22, won 6-1 6-3 6-0 in one hour 48 minutes to become the first man since Bjorn Borg in 1981 to win four Roland Garros titles in a row.

Federer had lost the previous two finals to Nadal, and was broken at the start of each set this time as he fell well below his best form.

Nadal becomes the seventh man to win a Grand Slam without dropping a set.

The last man to do so was Federer himself, at the Australian Open last year, but the aura of invincibility has well and truly left the Swiss now.

It was the heaviest defeat of Federer's career in Grand Slam tournaments and suggested he is as far as ever from fulfilling his dream of winning all four major titles.

Invincible is exactly the description that applies to Nadal at Roland Garros. He has won all 28 matches he has played there and lost just eight sets in four years.

Federer had gone into the final insisting that he believed he could win, despite a 1-8 record against Nadal on clay and having seen the Spaniard demolish all comers on his way through the draw.

And any belief that Federer did have began to disappear almost immediately, as he made four unforced errors to give away a break of serve in game one.

The top seed appeared to be using a more attacking strategy than in past years and the high-risk tactics almost got him back on level terms in game two, but he could not convert a break point and the set ran away from him.

When Federer dropped serve at the start of the second with his 15th unforced error of the match he looked a beaten man, but a superb angled backhand helped him recover the break in the following game.

And as the set progressed, Federer began to suggest he could threaten the champion.

The key moment came at 3-3 when the Swiss earned a break point and a chance to finally move ahead, but Nadal drew him into the net and Federer caught the tape as he went for too much with a low backhand.

With the chance gone, Nadal inevitably made him pay in the next game, taking his third break point by punching a backhand pass down the line with Federer stranded at the net.

Things got even worse for the Wimbledon champion in the third, as he lost his first love set at a Grand Slam since facing Pat Rafter at the French Open in 1999.

In the closing stages Nadal was picking him apart, with one stunning lob in game four a particular highlight and evidence that the Mallorcan's game has come on in leaps and bounds.

He sealed victory when the world number one made his 35th unforced error of the match - to Nadal's seven - and left an embarrassed Federer to pay tribute as the trophy was handed over for a fourth time.

"Rafa is very, very strong and he dominates this tournament like never before," said Federer. "Congratulations Rafa."

see also
Federer v Nadal as it happened
08 Jun 08 |  Tennis
French Open pictures
08 Jun 08 |  Tennis

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