Spain’s Rafael Nadal demolished world number one Novak Djokovic of Serbia 6-0 6-2 7-5 in the French Open final to claim a record-equalling 20th Grand Slam title on Sunday.
With his record-improving 13th triumph at Roland Garros, world number two Nadal is now tied with Swiss Roger Federer as the player with the most men’s singles major titles.
Nadal was the early aggressor as he choked Djokovic to win the opening set in brutal fashion having made only two unforced errors. He then kept a firm grip on a subdued Djokovic in the second set under the roof of court Philippe Chatrier.
Djokovic, who was looking to win his 18th Grand Slam title, rebelled in the third set, breaking back for 3-3, only to drop serve on a double fault in the 11th game before Nadal went on to bag his 100th victory at Roland Garros with an ace.
“First of all of course congrats to Novak for another great tournament, sorry for today,” Nadal, who has now beaten Djokovic in all of their three French Open finals, said on court.
“In Australia (in the final in 2019) he killed me. We’ve played so many times, one day one wins, another day the other wins.”
Djokovic had won five Grand Slam finals in a row since being beaten by Stan Wawrinka at the 2016 Australian Open, but Nadal was not upset on his turf despite a new stadium design, the roof and the lack of spectators amid the COVID-19 crisis.
The 34-year-old Nadal would not think of matching Federer’s mark.
“To win here means everything. I don’t think today about the 20th and equal Roger on this great number, today is just a Roland Garros victory and that means everything to me,” the world number two said.
“This love story I have with this city and this court is unforgettable.”
Factbox on Rafael Nadal’s French Open final wins
2005 – beat Mariano Puerta (Argentina) 6-7(6) 6-3 6-1 7-5
Rallied from a set down to beat fellow left-hander Puerta and become the first player to win the French Open title in his main draw debut since Mats Wilander in 1982, setting in motion an unprecedented run of success in the tournament.
2006 – beat Roger Federer (Switzerland) 1-6 6-1 6-4 7-6
Handed Federer his first defeat in a Grand Slam final to become the youngest back-to-back Roland Garros winner since Bjorn Borg in 1974-75.
2007 – beat Roger Federer (Switzerland) 6-3 4-6 6-3 6-4
Federer beat Nadal for the first time on clay a few weeks earlier but there was no stopping Nadal in Paris as he became the first man since Borg in 1980 to win a hat-trick of Roland Garros titles.
2008 – beat Roger Federer (Switzerland) 6-1 6-3 6-0
Thrashed Federer in one hour 48 minutes before apologising at the end of the match. He matched Borg’s feat of four straight titles at Roland Garros and became the first player since the Swede in 1980 to win the tournament without dropping a set.
2010 – beat Robin Soderling (Sweden) 6-4 6-2 6-4
After having his 31-match winning streak in Paris snapped by Soderling the previous year, Nadal gained sweet revenge by felling the Swede to seal a fifth title in six years.
2011 – beat Roger Federer (Switzerland) 7-5 7-6(3) 5-7 6-1
Overcame a determined Federer again to win his sixth French Open title at the age of 25 and equal the tally of Borg. It was the 10th Grand Slam title of his career.
2012 – beat Novak Djokovic (Serbia) 6-4 6-3 2-6 7-5
Went past Borg with a superb display against Djokovic in a rare Monday final that had several delays due to rain.
2013 – beat David Ferrer (Spain) 6-3 6-2 6-3
Improved his career record to 59-1 at Roland Garros by beating Ferrer in straight sets to become the first man with eight titles at the same Grand Slam.
2014 – beat Novak Djokovic (Serbia) 3-6 7-5 6-2 6-4
Entered Roland Garros with only one European claycourt title for the first time in 10 years but saw off Djokovic in four sets to become the first man to win five straight French Open titles.
2017 – beat Stan Wawrinka (Switzerland) 6-2 6-3 6-1
Emotional scenes as he regained his Roland Garros throne with a brutal 6-2 6-3 6-1 mauling of Swiss Wawrinka to complete ‘La Decima’. At 31, he become the oldest champion in Paris since 34-year-old Andres Gimeno in 1972.
2018 – beat Dominic Thiem (Austria) 6-4 6-3 6-2
Captured his 17th Grand Slam title, swatting aside Thiem for a record-extending 11th crown in Paris.
2019 – beat Dominic Thiem 6-3 5-7 6-1 6-1
Nadal was pushed hard in the first two sets but Thiem, who played sensational tennis for nearly two hours, could not sustain the pace and the Spaniard charged away to victory.
Nadal sealed his 18th Grand Slam title and became the first player to win the same Grand Slam title 12 times, edging ahead of Margaret Court’s 11 Australian Open crowns.
2020 – beat Novak Djokovic 6-0 6-2 7-5
Nadal produced a clinical display to put away Djokovic and equalled Federer’s record tally of 20 Grand Slam titles.