The 2014 French Open concluded with a familiar sight on Sunday at Roland Garros as Rafael Nadal secured his ninth French Open men's singles championship with a four-set win over Novak Djokovic.
The tournament's marquee matchup appeared poised to go the distance early on, but after seizing momentum in the second set, there was no stopping the King of Clay as he improved to 66-1 all-time in Paris, per Roland Garros on Twitter:
King of Clay by the numbers: extends RG winning streak to 35 matches; now 66-1 at RG; 90-1 in best-of-5 on clay; 45 career clay titles #RG14— Roland Garros (@rolandgarros) June 8, 2014
Below you'll find results and highlights from the final day of play at Roland Garros.
|Men's Singles Final||Score|
|(1) Rafael Nadal def. (2) Novak Djokovic||3-6, 7-5, 6-2, 6-4|
|Women's Doubles Final||Score|
|(1) Su-Wei Hsieh/Shuai Peng def. (2) Sara Errani/Roberta Vinci||6-4, 6-1|
Rafa Wins Record Fifth Straight French Open Title
For the ninth time in 10 years, Spain's Rafael Nadal is the last man standing at Roland Garros, adding to his record number of French Open championships with a fifth straight title on Day 15.
Coming into Sunday's match, Djokovic admitted that beating Nadal would be a massive challenge, but he expressed confidence in his ability to end the Spaniard's reign, per RolandGarros.com's Matt Trollope:
Knowing that I was that close to win(ning) against him the past two years gives me that reason to believe that I can make it this time...It's easier said than done, of course, because we all know how good he is on this court. But he's not unbeatable. Winning against him last couple of matches in the finals, big events, definitely gives me confidence that I can do it again.
Both players appeared content to wait for their chances in the early stages and stayed on serve through the first seven games of the opening set. But Djokovic seized his opportunity to break moments later, taking a 5-3 lead.
Nadal had several break chances in the very next game but was unable to capitalize, losing the set 6-3.
Rafa shook off his disappointment quickly, though, coming out strong in the second set and hitting 18 winners compared to five for the first set. Each player would break serve midway through the set, but Nadal's second break of the frame would level the match at one set apiece, as noted by tennis analyst Brad Gilbert:
Huge dagger there for Rafa excatly what he wanted very physical and now 1set all— Brad Gilbert (@bgtennisnation) June 8, 2014
Match just to a huge swing in Rafa favor— Brad Gilbert (@bgtennisnation) June 8, 2014
The second-set triumph would energize Nadal as he quickly ran away with the third set, converting on both of his break point opportunities and saving two break points on serve en route to a relatively comfortable 6-2 win.
Trailing by a set, Djokovic's frustration began to show as he slammed his racquet in disgust. Soon after it became clear that the six-time Grand Slam winner was feeling far from 100 percent when NBC cameras showed the Serb vomiting during a break in play.
After breaking Djokovic to pull ahead 4-2 in the fourth set, the finish line was in sight for Nadal. Djokovic would get back on serve later in the set, but he was unable to hold serve at 30-0 in the final game, losing four straight points to miss out on yet another chance at the career Grand Slam.
Afterward, Djokovic expressed his disappointment, per Roland Garros on Twitter:
How many French Open titles will Nadal retire with?
In addition to winning a ninth French Open crown, Nadal picked up his 14th career Grand Slam title, tying him with Pete Sampras for second on the all-time list. Only Roger Federer's 17 major championships stand in the way of Nadal and the all-time record.
There's no doubt that Nadal is the greatest clay court player the game has ever seen, but Sunday's triumph at Roland Garros reaffirms his status as the current world No. 1.
Djokovic will have a chance to redeem himself at Wimbledon later this summer, but until then, he'll be wondering what could have been for the second time in three years.
Top Seeds Prevail in Women's Doubles
Prior to the highly anticipated Nadal-Djokovic matchup, the top two seeded teams in women's doubles met on center court. But the outcome was never in doubt as the top-seeded pair of Su-Wei Hsieh and Shuai Peng defeated the second-seeded duo of Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci in straight sets, 6-4, 6-1, per Roland Garros on Twitter:
The Italians were plagued by poor play on their second serves and their inability to save break points, saving just 3 of 10 for the match.
Hsieh and Peng won the women's doubles championship at Wimbledon last summer and will now turn their attention to the upcoming Slam at the All England Club, where they can defend their title with another impressive display.
Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter.