Rafael Nadal has etched his name into the annals of tennis history…
The 27-year-old Spanish tennis star beat David Ferrer in the French Open final Sunday 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 to become the first man to win eight titles at the same Grand Slam tournament.
Nadal, proclaimed The King of Clay, also broke the men’s record for match wins at Roland Garros, where he improved to 59-1, with his lone defeat against Robin Soderling in the fourth round in 2009.
For fans enthralled by Nadal’s semifinal victory over top-ranked Novak Djokovic, the final may have seemed anticlimactic. But not for Nadal.
His path to the French Open title was more arduous than usual. He fell behind in each of his first three matches and needed a fifth-set comeback to beat Djokovic.
And the latest title was especially sweet for Nadal because of his comeback after a seven-month layoff caused by knee trouble.
”This one is very special one,” Nadal said. ”When you have period of time like I had, you realize that you don’t know if you will have the chance to be back here with this trophy another time.”
Since returning in February, he’s 43-2 with seven titles in nine tournaments, and he has won his past 22 matches. With his 12th Grand Slam tournament championship, Nadal moved into a tie for third place with Roy Emerson behind Roger Federer‘s 17 and Pete Sampras‘ 14.
Nadal came into the final with a 16-match winning streak on clay against Ferrer, who was a big underdog playing in his first major final at age 31. Ferrer had a few chances to make Nadal uneasy but converted only three of 12 break points and double-faulted five times.