Nadal feels sorry for Federer

2007-06-10 18:55
Paris - Rafael Nadal destroyed Roger Federer's historic Grand Slam dream for another year by capturing his third successive French Open on Sunday.

The Spaniard's 6-3 4-6 6-3 6-4 victory emulated the great Bjorn Borg's record of three Roland Garros titles in a row.

It also shattered Federer's hopes of capturing a first French Open and become only the third man after Don Budge (1938) and Rod Laver (1962 and 1969) to hold all four Grand Slam crowns at the same time.

The win also preserved the 21-year-old Nadal's perfect record of never losing in the tournament in his three visits. He has now won all 21 of his matches including beating the world number one in the final here in 2006.

Despite being the first player to take a set off the champion at this year's tournament, Federer was left to regret squandering 10 break points in the crucial first set which he lost and a huge 60 unforced errors in the match.

"I feel sorry for Roger," said Nadal.

"He is such a good person and a great champion. I'm happy to win here again but I need to keep working to get even better."

Federer, who has now lost to Nadal three years in a row here, said it had been another tough afternoon.

"It's a shame, but I think I came closer to winning last year. This year I was always behind and it was never easy," said Federer.

"It's not the last time I will play here and I will try all I can to win next year."

As Court Philippe Chatrier basked in sweltering temperatures of 28 degrees, it was Federer, pushing the Spanish left-hander out wide, who sniffed an early chance in the first set but Nadal snuffed out two break points in the fourth game.

Failure to hammer home the advantage

Nadal saved five more break points in a marathon sixth game which featured a 21-stroke rally.

The crushing failure to hammer home the advantage weighed heavily on the Swiss as he was immediately broken to love in the next game as Nadal nipped 4-3 in front, a sloppy backhand into the net sealing the top seed's fate.

Federer wasted another golden opportunity in the eighth game.

This time three more break points went begging as Nadal came back from 0-40 to lead 5-3.

The Spaniard went to set point in the ninth game which he converted in style with a screaming winner which left Federer, whose game had rapidly unravelled, scrambling after 51 minutes on court.

The Swiss wasted another break point, his 11th, in the seventh game of the second set, but he finally broke through to lead when Nadal could only bury a tricky backhand return into the foot of the net.

Federer, with the majority of the 20 000 crowd willing him on to victory, valiantly fought off three break points to establish a 5-3 lead before he then failed to convert four set points on the Nadal serve in the ninth game.

But he levelled the tie by taking the second set 6-4 after a further 55 minutes when Nadal went long with a forehand.

It was the first set the world number two had dropped at this year's tournament.

Nadal broke to lead 2-0 in the third set and defended splendidly from the baseline in the fifth game to go to 4-1.

Federer saved a set point in the eighth game but his opponent claimed the the set 6-3 with another power-packed forehand after 2hr 26min of action.

Federer, wilting under the familiar Nadal barrage and unable to break the Spaniard's resistance, hit a lazy forehand approach into the net in the third game of the fourth set to allow Nadal to jump 2-1 in front.

A love game allowed Nadal to go 4-2 which soon became 5-3 as the fight deserted Federer.

Nadal sealed his third title after 3hr 10min when Federer hit a weary forehand long.

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