Nadal Tames Roger Again At The French Open 2011 Final




French Open 2011 - Rafael Nadal

French Open 2011 – Rafael Nadal

It must have been one of the best birthday presents for Rafael Nadal who turned 25 two days ago, on Friday, winning the French Open title in 2011, beating Roger Fedrer for the second time and equaling the record of 6 wins at Roland Garros by Borg.

Before the start, Fedrer looked the stronger of the two, winning the semis against an in-form Novak Djokovic. Nadal came through the tournament having not played his best tennis and if had to win the French Open title he would have to play a lot better than he had till now. The pressure was more on Nadal to maintain his World Rank No.1 as losing to Fedrer would see Djokovic taking the World No.1 rank, but one could feel that many had their hopes up on Fedrer after his thrilling semifinal win.

Roger took off where he left with his match with Novak, with big booming serves and well executed winners reaches 5-1 in the first match. He came up the court for a few serve-volleys and won the first few sets easy. Nadal didn’t look too comfortable on court for the first half hour. But soon the tables turned round. Nadal broke Roger on his serve and went on with his winning ways. Roger suddenly found himself on the back foot with his shots landing just wide of the line. His first serve percentage dropped drastically and Nadal was able to force Fedrer to make errors. On couple of occasions, Fedrer went forward to the net in search of quick points, only to be beaten by some amazing winners by Nadal.  Nadal came down from 1-5 to take the set 7-5.

In the second set, Fedrer started very weak, making a lot of unforced error. Fedrer had a lot of chances but he messed up almost every one of them. He played long deep rallies to force Nadal into a corner and found open court most of the time but he was not able to materialize as he would hit just long or end up hitting the net. Nadal kept his game rather simple and focused more on keeping the ball in play. Nadal was looking stronger and stronger as the match progressed. The set entered a tight tie-break with Nadal winning it 7-6 in the end. Roger was losing out to Nadal trying to be aggressive on the court. Nadal didn’t do too much but held on when it most mattered. It was maybe the loss of the first set which had taken back Roger and he was mentally broken by Nadal.

In the third set, Fedrer kept fighting his way against Nadal, without much success. Occasionally, Roger would come up with an amazing winner but Nadal kept his head ahead through the set. Roger seemed to have completely lost his golden touch, making lot of miss-hits and playing the ball wide. The crowd was behind Roger chanting his names with the occasional shout of ‘c’mon Roger’ to keep him motivated. One could see that Fedrer was trying too hard and making a lot of errors in the process. As the game entered its third hour of play, Roger somehow broke loose and played a few amazing drop shots to the take the third set away from Nadal, winning it 7-5.

In the fourth set, fatigue was taking its toll on both players. Fedrer was searching for something magical on the court to help him out of the dumps which was not to happen. Nadal kept chasing the ball all over the court while Roger looked out of sorts hitting the ball long to give the set away, in the process losing out the fourth set 6-3. Roger looked the more dominating player on court but it was Nadal who held on to his game and ended up with lesser unforced error to clinch the French Open title.

Wining his 6th French open and 10th Grand Slam title, Nadal fell on his knees, with tears in his eyes before going over to exchange a hand shake with Roger. It was a match where Nadal played a very conservative game rather than his usual aggressive type and still managed to defeat the great Roger Fedrer again at the French Open final. One could see the twinkle in the eyes and the relief on the face of Nadal as he held the huge winner’s cup.

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Anjan K Merkap

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