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Nadal denies Djokovic to make history in Paris

ESPN staff
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Rafael Nadal Wins Record Ninth French Open

Rafael Nadal has become the first player to win five French Open titles in a row after the world No.1 defeated Novak Djokovic 3-6 7-5 6-2 6-4 to triumph at Roland Garros for a ninth time.

The Spaniard is now tied for second on the all-time Grand Slams winners' list with Pete Sampras on 14 majors and is three behind Roger Federer's leading tally of 17.

Nadal's incredible record at Roland Garros continues as he has won 66 out of 67 matches, extending his winning streak on the clay courts of Paris to 35 matches. He also becomes the first player to win at least one Grand Slam for 10 years in a row after overcoming the Serb in three hours and 31 minutes.

"Playing against Novak is always a big challenge for me," Nadal said.

"I lost against him the last four times. Every time I have the chance to beat him it's because I play to my limit. I'm sorry for him, I think he deserves to win this tournament, I'm sure he will in the future."

Djokovic was aiming to become the eighth player to complete the career Grand Slam by winning the only major missing from his trophy cabinet. However, despite taking the first set and winning his last four encounters against Nadal, suffered a sixth defeat to the world No.1 at Roland Garros in what was their 42nd career meeting.

"Congratulations to Rafa and his team, it is incredible to win this tournament nine times," Djokovic said. "It was an emotional day. I have tried with all my power, my strength, my capacities but Rafa was the strongest on court."

Novak Djokovic has lost to Rafael Nadal in two French Open finals © Getty Images
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Djokovic secured the first break of the final in the eighth game to lead 5-3. Nadal threatened to reclaim the break with two opportunities in the following game, but Djokovic held to take the opening set after 44 minutes.

Nadal began to dominate the rallies in the second set with his forehand looking menacing. The Spaniard then broke to lead 4-2 after Djokovic hit the net, but he failed to consolidate it as Djokovic hit straight back to take two successive games and make it 4-4.

After the following three games went on serve, it was Nadal who broke Djokovic for a second time to take the set 7-5 after an hour to level the encounter.

Nadal raced into a 2-0 lead in the third set after Djokovic handed the break by missing a volley. The world No.1 then took his fourth successive game to go 3-0 up.

Twice Nadal fended off break points to lead 4-1 and 5-2, with Djokovic looking to his camp in disbelief after coming close to reclaiming the break in the seventh game.

Djokovic looked as though he was going to close the gap to two games at 5-3. However, he produced several errors as Nadal took four straight points to take the set 6-2.

Nadal broke Djokovic in the seventh game of the fourth set. However, Djokovic refused to give in as he levelled at 4-4.

But, after Nadal went 5-4 in front, he came from 30-0 down on Djokovic's serve in the 10th game to claim the title at the first time of asking following a double fault from Djokovic when someone in the crowd distracted him on his second serve.

© Getty Images
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