Rafael Nadal lors de la cérémonie des prix de Roland-Garros 2020.

Roland-Garros: The five finals that forged the legend of Nadal

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Rafael Nadal will play the 14th final of his career at Roland-Garros on Sunday against the Norwegian Casper Ruud. The Spaniard, winner of the last thirteen, will try to maintain his invincibility acquired in legendary matches.

Rafael Nadal at the 2020 Roland Garros Awards Ceremony.

AFP

On Sunday afternoon (3 p.m.) Rafael Nadal will play the 14th final of his career at Roland-Garros. Unlike Casper Ruud (ATP 8), the Spaniard wants to win his 22nd Grand Slam title and improve his own record.

The Norwegian faces the ultimate tennis challenge: to beat the Mallorquin in his garden, the Court Philippe-Chatrier, in the final. Several players tried to raise it, but none succeeded. The Manacor bull, who has made thirteen appearances at this stage of the competition, has always won and never conceded more than a set. A look back at the five finals that forged the legend of ‘Rafa’ at Roland-Garros.

2005 against Mariano Puerta: The beginning

For his first ever Roland Garros in 2005, Rafael Nadal arrived at the Porte d’Auteuil in a tank top and Bermuda shorts full of confidence. The number 4 will remain in effect for three consecutive titles earned in Monte-Carlo, Barcelona and Rome. After eliminating Federer in the semifinals, Nadal faces a surprise guest, Argentinian Mariano Puerta.

That day, the two players went head to head in the first set, which Puerta won in a tie-break on an incredible level of play. Then the 19-year-old takes over with defensive and counterattacking and wins in four sets (6:7, 6:3, 6:1, 7:5). This first Grand Slam title marks the beginning of a long streak for the Manacor native.

2008 against Roger Federer: The Lesson

For the third consecutive year, the Paris tournament title clash takes on the two best players in the world, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. In 2006 and 2007, it was the Mallorcan left-hander who went best in four innings on both occasions. However, the Basel world No. 1 will have no say in this part as his opponent is superior.

In steamroller mode, Nadal will provide a real reason for consideration and only leave four small games to a completely overwhelmed Federer (6: 1, 6: 3, 6: 0). He managed the feat of winning the tournament without dropping a single set.

2010 against Robin Söderling: revenge

In 2009 it is the sensation! Rafael Nadal conceded his first defeat at the Paris Ocher in the round of 16 against Robin Söderling. A year later he found the Swede in the final. Vengeful, the Spaniard will make short work of his opponent.

As a veritable wall in defense, the King of Sand Söderling does not offer an easy point that ultimately charges the blow. The result is definitive in favor of the world No. 2 (6-4, 6-2, 6-4), who lifted his fifth trophy in the French capital.

2017 vs. Stanislas Wawrinka: The Decima

Rafael Nadal, who hasn’t won any Grand Slam titles since the 2014 season, is still a favourite. After two difficult years, he had an excellent year in 2017 with a final at the Australian Open and three titles won on clay. Opposite him is Stanislas Wawrinka from Vaud, winner of three Grand Slams and undefeated in the final of this type of tournament.

The fight between the two players would be epic, but it wasn’t. Rafa Wawrinka gave absolutely no chance (6: 2, 6: 3, 6: 1) as aggressive as seldom at Roland-Garros and with a few defensive moves that he alone knows. Thanks to this success, he is the first player in history to win the same Grand Slam trick ten times.

2020 against Novak Djokovic: The record

The 2020 edition of the French Open, postponed to September due to Covid-19, ends with a tennis classic between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. If successful, the Spaniard would afford his 20th Grand Slam, equaling Roger Federer’s record. However, he faces world number 1, Serbian Novak Djokovic, against whom he has not won a Grand Slam match since 2014.

That doesn’t stop the Roland-Garros king from starting the drumbeat part and keeping Djokovic dry at 6-0 in the opener. Despite a hanging third set, Rafael Nadal won the Mousquetaires Cup for the thirteenth time (6: 0, 6: 2, 7: 5).


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