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french open title


Rafael Nadal had to cope with an on-court intruder and the Paris rain to beat fellow Spaniard David Ferrer and win a record eighth French Open title.

Rafael Nadal, 27, came through 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 to reaffirm his dominance on clay, and further elevate himself among the greats of the sport.

However, the final was marred by a brief protest high in the stands during the second set that was quickly followed by an intruder leaping onto the court while brandishing a flare.

Security guards managed to bundle the man to the ground as he approached Rafael Nadal, and the player even took care to shake an official’s hand before returning to the action.

Rafael Nadal immediately dropped his serve, but within an hour he had wrapped up the victory that makes him the first man to win a Grand Slam singles tournament eight times.

His 59th match win also takes him past Roger Federer and Guillermo Vilas at Roland Garros, while his 12th major title moves him above Bjorn Borg and Rod Laver on the all-time list.

David Ferrer, playing in his first major final at the age of 31, was a worthy adversary and pushed his compatriot harder than the score might suggest, but he never threatened an upset.

Rafael Nadal won a record eighth French Open title after beating fellow Spaniard David Ferrer

Rafael Nadal won a record eighth French Open title after beating fellow Spaniard David Ferrer

Both men appeared edgy in the early stages, with breaks of serve exchanged in games three and four, but Rafael Nadal fired a brilliant cross-court backhand winner to move ahead again at 4-3 and took the set with a third break.

David Ferrer was making his illustrious compatriot work for his service games and missed an early chance in the second set, before Rafael Nadal made him pay with a forehand winner for 2-0.

A routine afternoon looked on the cards, but the calm was shattered by chanting from protesters with a banner in the upper tier of the stands during the sixth game of the set.

The players paused while the incident was dealt with only for another, potentially more serious, disturbance to follow before the next game when a shirtless man wearing a mask vaulted the flower bed surrounding the court, waving a burning flare above his head.

When play resumed, two unsurprisingly distracted service games followed, but Rafael Nadal moved two sets clear and looked razor sharp again when a volley put him 2-0 ahead in the third.

The increasingly heavy rain now appeared the biggest threat to his ambitions, but David Ferrer was not done and got back on level terms before blowing an opportunity to move ahead with a backhand error at 3-3.

It was to be David Ferrer’s last chance as a double-fault gave up his serve for the seventh time.

Rafael Nadal moved to match point and cracked a magnificent forehand winner before falling back onto the clay in celebration for an incredible eighth time at Roland Garros.

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Serena Williams won a second French Open title 11 years after her first with a convincing win over defending champion Maria Sharapova.

World number one Serena Williams, 31, was pushed at times but took control midway through the first set, winning 6-4, 6-4, in one hour and 46 minutes.

Serena Williams has now claimed 16 Grand Slam singles titles, moving her to within two of Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert, who have 18 each.

With an unbeaten run that stands at 31 matches, Serena Williams will be strongly favoured to add to that tally at Wimbledon next month.

“Today, when I won, I was trying to win the French Open. I wasn’t trying to get to number 16,” said Serena Williams.

“I think it’s really special. I feel like I definitely want to continue my journey.”

Maria Sharapova had come into Saturday’s final promising to “try something different” after failing to beat Serena Williams in their last 12 matches, stretching back to 2004.

Key to the Russian’s hopes was defending a serve that has been plagued by double faults in recent times.

At 0-40 in the opening game, things already looked bleak for Maria Sharapova, but she dug in and fired down an ace and one terrific second serve as she saw off four break points.

The second seed took that momentum into the following game to break the mighty american serve, and looked well set in the next at 40-15 – before Williams sparked into life.

A heavy forehand winner helped her back into the game and when she thumped away a smash on break point, Serena Williams let out a “come on!” that was the equal of Maria Sharapova’s early efforts.

Serena Williams won a second French Open title 11 years after her first with a convincing win over defending champion Maria Sharapova

Serena Williams won a second French Open title 11 years after her first with a convincing win over defending champion Maria Sharapova

Four games in a row put Serena Williams in command at 4-2, but Maria Sharapova showed the grit that has taken her to four Grand Slam titles as she battled her way back to 4-4 in some fierce baseline exchanges.

With the pressure on, Serena Williams raised her intensity still further and produced the kind of hitting that even Maria Sharapova cannot live with, forcing the Russian into a forehand error in game nine before serving out the set after 51 minutes.

That was five minutes longer than Sara Errani had managed to delay Serena Williams in their entire semi-final, and Maria Sharapova continued to cling on gamely.

She saved five break points in a gripping first game of the second set but, unable to trouble Serena Williams’ serve, she found herself under pressure again moments later.

Serena Williams proved just how much she has improved her movement on clay as she slid out wide for one defensive backhand on the way to breaking in game three, and she would not relinquish the advantage.

The 15,000 spectators in the main Chatrier stadium cheered Maria Sharapova as she held serve from 30-30 with defeat looming, but she was not about to be given a reprieve by her opponent.

Serena Williams demonstrated once again that her serve is the best shot in the game, firing down an ace to secure the title and dropping to her knees in celebration.

Maria Sharapova said: “She played a great match. She played strong, she played deep, served really good; served better than I did. She took her chances.”

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Rafael Nadal won a record seventh French Open title after beating Novak Djokovic with 6-4 6-3 2-6 7-5 in a rain-affected final.

Rafael Nadal, 26, resumed leading 6-4 6-3 2-6 1-2, but his uncharacteristic wobble late on Sunday had fuelled Novak Djokovic’s belief.

The Spaniard broke back in the first game of the day however, and then piled pressure on an unsettled Novak Djokovic.

The Serb finally folded with a double fault to hand Rafael Nadal an 11th Grand Slam.

Having drawn level with Bjorn Borg on six Roland Garros titles last year, the victory gave Rafael Nadal sole ownership of the landmark, and he is likely to have plenty of opportunities to stretch further clear.

Rafael Nadal won a record seventh French Open title after beating Novak Djokovic with in a rain-affected final

Rafael Nadal won a record seventh French Open title after beating Novak Djokovic with in a rain-affected final

The only three men to have more Grand Slam victories – Roger Federer with 16, Pete Sampras on 14 and Roy Emerson on 12 – are now in his sights.

The crowd had returned to Court Philippe Chatrier entertaining the possibility that they may witness a different piece of tennis history.

Novak Djokovic, aiming to become only the third man in history to hold all four Grand Slam titles simultaneously, seemed to have the upper hand on his rival when Parisian drizzle had forced them off on Sunday.

Rafael Nadal led a precariously-poised contest 6-4 6-3 2-6 1-2 overnight, but, having been broken early in the fourth, he had looked ill at ease on the court he has made his own.

The Spaniard had surrendered eight successive games and grew increasingly irritated by the wet conditions underfoot before tournament officials called an end to proceedings.

With the chance to reassess his position and resume in dry, if cloudy, conditions the world number two emerged reenergized.

Novak Djokovic’s hopes of becoming the first man to beat Rafael Nadal on clay after losing the opening two sets immediately dimmed as Nadal toppled his serve in the opening game.

Rafael Nadal’s body language had spoken volumes on Sunday and, after the Serb’s forehand down the line was snagged by the tape to bring up 2-2 , it was Novak Djokovic who allowed his frustration to show.

The world number one pounded his head with his racquet strings, but the brutal treatment he was receiving from the opposite end of the net proved harder to halt.

Twice Rafael Nadal held to love, while Novak Djokovic’s serve continued to look vulnerable.

Novak Djokovic’s resolve and fight had seem him haul back four match points to beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga earlier in the tournament, but he appeared drained as he gifted Rafael Nadal the championship without forcing him to play a return.

The Serb’s second serve was long to signal an end of three successive Grand Slam final wins over Rafael Nadal and continue his rival’s extraordinary record of just one defeat in the tournament since making his debut in 2005.

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