When Rafael Nadal drew level with Pete Sampras' Grand Slam record

Let us look back on the day when Rafael Nadal won his ninth French Open title by defeating Novak Djokovic in dominant fashion.

Rafael Nadal celebrates winning the French Open 2014 final. (Image: Twitter)

To say Rafael Nadal loves playing at Roland Garros would be like saying he’s half-decent at tennis. The Spaniard has made the clay courts of France his second home, such has been his dominance at the Grand Slam. Indeed, he goes into the Slam every year as a favourite to win. That fate in his ability to win on clay is not unfounded either. After all, he’s won the men’s singles title a whopping 13 times. That’s an unprecedented dominance, even in modern times. And it was on this day 7 years ago that he wrapped up his ninth title at the clay courts of Paris.

Let us look back on the day when Nadal won his ninth French Open title by defeating Novak Djokovic in dominant fashion.

The background

Nadal and Djokovic were the top two seeded players in the tournament. Stanislas Wawrinka and Roger Federer were the third and fourth seeds, respectively. But the Swiss duo didn’t make it far in the tournament.

Wawrinka, who was the Australian Open champion in that same year, lost in the first round itself at Roland Garros. Meanwhile Federer lost out to Ernests Gulbis in the fourth round.

A Djokovic-Nadal final seemed likely, although Nadal had to face tougher opposition in David Ferrer and Andy Murray. Djokovic saw off Milos Raonic and the aforementioned Gulbis.

Thus, the stage was set for the sixth Roland Garros meeting between Nadal and Djokovic.

Ninth wonder for Rafael Nadal

Nadal, it’s worth noting, had beaten Djokovic in all of their past encounters at Paris. But Djokovic stunned everyone by claiming the first set 6-3.

That, though, was as good as it got for the Serb. Nadal was made to work in the next set but wound up winning it 7-5. He then claimed the next two sets 6-2, 6-4 to finish the match in four sets.

The win saw Nadal notch up a few key records. He equalled Pete Sampras’ record of 14 Grand Slam titles, something only Federer had done in the past.

It was also Nadal’s fifth French Open title in as many years. Thus, he became the first player to win five straight men’s singles titles at Paris.

He also became the only male tennis star at that point to have one at least one Grand Slam title a year over the past decade.

Sportslumo Desk

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