Rafael Nadal made the Roland Garros debut in 2005, standing as one of the favorites and lifting a Major trophy as the last teenager in the Open era. The legend was born, and Nadal became the most outstanding player at a single Major in tennis history.
The Spaniard has won 112 out of 115 matches in Paris and lifted 14 trophies from 18 trips to the French capital, achieving records that will never get broken. Casper Ruud was Nadal’s rival in Sunday’s Roland Garros final, and he could not do much against the most formidable opponent.
Rafa notched a 6-3, 6-3, 6-0 victory in two hours and 18 minutes for his 22nd Major and another brilliant run at his beloved Major. The Norwegian used a favorable draw to achieve a career-best result and become the first Major finalist from his country.
Still, he stood no chance against Nadal, who broke him eight times from 16 opportunities created on the return. Rafa fired 37 winners and 18 unforced errors and pushed the rival’s backhand to the limits in one of his most one-sided Roland Garros finals.
They stayed neck and neck in the shortest range up to four strokes, and Nadal forged the victory in the more advanced exchanges. The Spaniard was especially impressive in those rallies with five or six shots, building a 24-6 lead and marching over the finish line in the decider.
Casper Ruud shared his thoughts about the Roland Garros final.
They traded early breaks in the opener, and Nadal grabbed another at 2-1 to forge his second lead. They both served well in the remaining games, and Rafa closed the set with a service winner at 5-3 for a boost.
Ruud broke at love in the second set’s fourth game following Nadal’s errors and forged a 3-1 advantage. Rafa shifted into a higher gear from there and rattled off 11 consecutive games to topple the young rival and race towards the finish line.
The Spaniard produced a bagel in the third set and sealed the deal with a backhand down the line winner for his 14th Roland Garros trophy. “I said before the match that I guess it is, but now I think I know it is. So at least what I have faced it’s challenging and demanding.
Rafa’s numbers speak for themselves. He has never lost a final here, and there is a reason why. Like I said in the runner-up speech, I’m just another one of the victims that he has destroyed on this court in the final,” Casper Ruud said.