(1)Rafael Nadal d. (3)Roger Federer 7-5, 7-6(3), 5-7, 6-1 [3:40 h]
Federer and Nadal have made the first pair in the Open era to play four finals at one Grand Slam tournament (beside them, three finals at one major played only: Stefan Edberg with Boris Becker at Wimbledon; Federer verus both, Andy Roddick and Nadal at Wimbledon too; and Pete Sampras against Andre Agassi at the US Open). “Fedal” also equaled a record of Ivan Lendl, who faced (five times at one major – US Open) two players – John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors #
Federer began the final in a great style with a 3:0 (30-all) lead. I noticed that Nadal was unusually tense, maybe a bit afraid of Federer’s form after his sensational win over Djokovic. The Swiss was a dominant figure over the first 30 minutes and actually 2-3 centimeters decided that he didn’t win the 1st set 6-2… at 5:2* (adv.) he played a backhand drop-shot which was called correctly “out”, Nadal had only an illusive chance to win that point if the ball had been good… It was a crucial moment for the entire final, Nadal won the game with a powerful backhand passing-shot and came back to his standard eagerness after a timid start, in the meantime errors crept into Federer’s game. The Swiss was 30/15 ahead in the two following games, but Nadal since 2:5 won seven consecutive games, he even led 30/15 in Federer’s service game in the 3rd game of the 2nd set, eventually the former No. 1 stopped the streak of losing games with a help of three good serves. Nadal led 4:2*, Federer leveled up, but lost his serve again. In the 10th game the rain came, Nadal wasted a set point with a forehand error and the rain was already so intensive that the chair-umpire decided to suspend the final. After a short break, Federer caught the momentum winning eight points in a row, he led 6:5* (15/0), and happened something quite characteristic then – a streak of successive points for one player, was followed by a streak of points for the other one – Nadal won eight points in a row too, which gave him a comfortable 4:0 lead in the ensuing tie-break; it was enough to get the tie-break seven points to three with a forehand winner (it’s 9-9 in their tie-break record now). Surviving a match against Nadal, being two-sets-to-love down is almost impossible, only Federer has done it so far, and it was a base for him to fight in the 3rd set, in which Nadal led *4:2. Federer showed once again his excellent technique, deceived his opponent with tricky shots a few times, and after taking that set, he had a triple break point in the opening game of the 4th set – Nadal managed to win five points in a row. He broke Federer to ‘love’ in the 4th game – Federer hadn’t too much in the tank to come back from a break down in second consecutive set. Nadal won relatively easily the next three games, converting the first match point as Federer sent a forehand long. Stats of the match.
‘Rafa’ celebrated his tenth major crown on the knees. He retains his position of the best player in the world for (at least) next four weeks thanks to the title and… Federer, who outplayed Nadal’s biggest current foe – Djokovic. Nadal has collected 46 career titles, including ten majors (he becomes only the fourth player to win at least 10 Grand Slam tournaments in the Open era ##). “As it often happens, he is the best on clay,” Federer admitted, “He proved it once again.” Nadal said: “It’s a big personal satisfaction to win this tournament, especially when you started without playing your best. My mind was open to change the situation, so that makes the victory probably more special. So in general, [I am] very, very happy for everything.” The Spaniard has tied Bjorn Borg‘s record of 6 titles at Roland Garros, but I’m disposed to value Nadal’s achievement more, because the Swede won his first two titles (1974-75) when “the best of three” matches were required in the first two rounds.
(2)Max Mirnyi/Daniel Nestor d. *Juan Sebastian Cabal/Eduardo Schwank
7-6(3), 3-6, 6-4
* Cabal – the unknown Colombian – had not played a tournament at the main level before the Roland Garros 2011!
# The record-tying in majors, five Roland Garros meetings between Nadal and Federer:
2005, SF: Nadal d. Federer 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 2006, F: Nadal d. Federer 1-6, 6-1, 6-4, 7-6(4) 2007, F: Nadal d. Federer 6-3, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 2008, F: Nadal d. Federer 6-1, 6-3, 6-0 2011, F: Nadal d. Federer 7-5, 7-6(3), 5-7, 6-1
## Players who have won at least 6 major titles (the Open era):
16 – Roger Federer
14 – Pete Sampras
11 – Bjorn Borg
10 – Rafael Nadal
8 – Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors, Andre Agassi
7 – Mats Wilander, John McEnroe
6 – Boris Becker, Stefan Edberg