Rafael Nadal had never lost a French Open final heading into his match with Stan Wawrinka on Sunday, and the Spaniard kept his streak alive, defeating Wawrinka in three sets to lift the French Open trophy once again.
The match between the two men, the oldest French Open finalists since 1964, drew great interest, as Wawrinka also carried a streak of finals success into the match. The Swiss star hoped to win his fourth Grand Slam title in as many finals, and while the records of each of the players created a breeding ground for intensity, emotion and battle, Nadal surged to a dominant win against Wawrinka 6-2, 6-3, 6-1.
Nadal showcased his skill and force early on, never trailing, and captured the first set in just over 40 minutes. But then Nadal kept going. He played to a 3-0 lead in the second set before Wawrinka notched his first game of that set. Nadal then proceeded to bury Wawrinka 6-3 to put himself one set away from another title.
In response, Wawrinka smashed his racket over his knees and received a warning for racket abuse.
Given Nadal’s play in the tournament, his rise to this 10th title seemed almost expected. He moved through the French Open, losing fewer games than he has ever lost before a final, and he also beat the only player who has beaten him on clay this year, Dominic Thiem, in the semifinals. Nadal hadn’t dropped a set the entire tournament, and he continued that perfect streak on Sunday.
In the 19 times that Nadal has now played Wawrinka, the Spaniard has won 16, winning the match every time he won the first set. Nadal also moved forward the trend that has occurred in the last three French Open finals where the winner of the second set wins the match.
While analysts assessed Nadal’s history, his strokes and his long career before the match, Nadal said he didn’t focus on the records.
“I don’t care about the games I lost or not, or sets, these kind of things – the only thing I care is I have been playing very well during the whole event, and I was able to win all the matches,” Nadal said.
And win all the matches he did, finally capturing the 10th French Open championship title that had been eluding him since he last won the Grand Slam in 2014.