In 2005, Rafael Nadal ascended to the top of the French Open mountain. Exactly 17 years later, the fashion style has changed, the haircut has changed and numerous injuries have been navigated, but he’s still right there on top of that mountain. The “King of Clay” lived up to his title once again, overwhelming Casper Ruud 6-3, 6-3, 6-0 to win his 14th career French Open title and 22nd career Grand Slam.
After a comfortable hold and a break to start, it looked like Nadal would cruise through the first round, but Ruud came back with a break of his own to get back on serve. Nadal, though, broke Ruud for a second time in two tries and did indeed cruise from there.
Nadal fell behind by a break early in the second set and would trail 3-1. Then, in a not-so-stunning turn of events, given his history at Roland Garros, Nadal would not lose another game.
He stormed back into dominant fashion in the second set, winning five consecutive games to win the set 6-3. Throughout the match, Nadal made Ruud pay for missing first serves, and that was especially evident in the second set, when Nadal won nine of 12 points off Ruud’s second serve. The set ended on Ruud’s first double-fault of the match.
The Spaniard was truly unrelenting in the third set, and Ruud was clearly worn down and out of answers, as so many have been before against Nadal at Roland Garros. The match mercifully ended on a blistering Nadal winner down the line, and Nadal put his head in his hands as the weight of yet another French Open title hit him.
Nadal’s 14 French Open championships are eight more than the next-closest man, Bjorn Borg, in the Open Era. Nadal’s 22 Grand Slams – four US Opens, two Wimbledons and two Australian Opens to go along with the 14 French Opens – are also most ever by a man, two more than both Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer.