Rafael Nadal asserted himself as the undisputed king of clay, winning a record seventh French Open title and preventing Novak Djokovic from completing a Grand Slam collection with a 6-4, 6-3, 2-6, 7-5 win in the final on Monday at Roland Garros in Paris.
Leading two sets to one after a day’s delay because of rain, the Spanish left-hander was all business at the resumption, needing only nine games to end all the drama.
Nadal broke Djokovic’s serve right at the resumption to level the score and set the tone of play.
Day 16 of the tournament was highlighted by the ninth game of the fourth set when Nadal won his serve to love for a 5-4 lead.
Nadal moved past Sweden’s Bjorn Borg in the list of players with the most French Open singles titles.
The 26-year-old Nadal also now has a 52-1 record at Roland Garros. Borg had a 49-2 mark in the Paris venue. The only player to ever beat Nadal in the French Open was Robin Soderling of Sweden.
Djokovic was looking to become the first since Rod Laver to win four straight Grand Slam tournaments after winning the 2011 Wimbledon, 2011 US Open and 2012 Australian Open.
Instead, Nadal ended the Serb’s winning streak in Grand Slam matches at 27.
It was the 15th meeting in a title showdown between Nadal and Djokovic.
Maria Sharapova won the French Open women’s title on Saturday, routing Sara Errani 6-3, 6-2 to complete a career Grand Slam after winning Wimbledon in 2004, the US Open in 2006 and the Australian Open in 2008.