Nadal comes from behind to win ninth French Open title

Nadal celebrates everywhere he goes and he was the happy man on Sunday in Paris
Nadal celebrates everywhere he goes and he was the happy man on Sunday in Paris
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He is already the greatest ever to set foot on a clay surface but Rafael Nadal is now firmly in the mix for greatest of all time on any surface.

In the fourth set, Nadal again took control, breaking the Serb for a 4-2 lead and, although Djokovic broke back immediately, he soon found himself 4-5 down and needing to serve to stay in the match. He again struggled and Nadal unleashed an outstanding backhand crosscourt passing shot to set up championship point. 

Rafael Nadal came from a set down to win the French Open for a record ninth time. 

The world number one beat Novak Djokovic 3-6 7-5 6-2 6-4 in three and a half hours to become the first ever player to win nine titles at a single Grand Slam event.

Djokovic had won the last four meetings between the two, the most recent being the final of the Italian Open less than a month ago, where Nadal lost in three sets. The defeat led to his form and fitness being analysed in the run up to the Grand Slam. 

The Spaniard has only lost 15 matches on clay in his entire career, yet this season has been the first in which he has lost more than two on the surface, with the Rome loss being preceded by defeats at the quarter-final stages in Monte Carlo and Barcelona.

So despite winning eight titles in nine years in Paris, he was in the strange position of being the slight underdog in the final. This position was made even stranger considering that the French Open is the only Grand Slam to have eluded Djokovic so far in his illustrious career.

The first break of serve appeared in the eighth game of the opening set with Djokovic, helped by a net cord, getting to 15-40 on the Nadal serve. The Spaniard saved the first two break points but the Serb got a third and made no mistake, forcing Nadal wide. 

Djokovic therefore served for the first set and although it was a far from convincing service game - Nadal had two break-back opportunities - he held on and took the first set 6-3. 

The second set was even until Nadal got a break of serve to go 4-2 up, although he was broken straight back and the set went to 5-5. Nadal had the advantage of serving first though and held for 6-5. Then, with Djokovic serving to stay in the set, the Spaniard upped his game, setting up two set points. He came to the net and volleyed a winner to level the match at one set all

The momentum was now with Nadal, who seized control at the start of the third set, breaking Djokovic again to claim a 3-0 lead. He held his service games and at 2-5 Djokovic was serving to stay in the third set. He was at 40-15 but Nadal fought back, forcing Djokovic into an unforced error, his 12th of the match, to bring the game back to deuce. 

A great passing shot from Nadal set up set point and Djokovic went long with a forehand to hand the set to Nadal, who moved within one set of victory and a record-breaking ninth French title. 

In the fourth set, Nadal again took control, breaking the Serb for a 4-2 lead and, although Djokovic broke back immediately, he soon found himself 4-5 down and needing to serve to stay in the match. He again struggled and Nadal unleashed an outstanding backhand crosscourt passing shot to set up championship point. 

The match finished with a slight sense of anti-climax, with Djokovic serving a double fault, but it did not cloud Nadal's achievement. His record of nine titles at a single Grand Slam is unlikely ever to be broken, although the world number one will be confident of making it 10 French Open titles a year from now.

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