Rafael Nadal finished off the 2020 Grand Slam season with one of the most dominant performances of his career on his favorite surface.
The Spaniard claimed his 13th French Open title with a straight-sets win over Novak Djokovic, who had not lost a completed match in 2020 before Sunday.
Nadal established his dominance right away in the 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 victory under the closed roof at Court Philippe-Chatrier.
Nadal won more points on first serve, second serve, service breaks and returning games than Djokovic in the first set, dominating in all categories by a margin of 20 percentage points or more.
Djokovic slightly improved in the second set, but Nadal still overpowered him with his 20th-career Grand Slam title in sight.
The southpaw did not allow a single break-point opportunity in the second set and finished off two of the eight break chances he earned off Djokovic.
Nadal was far cleaner with his shots all match, but the disparity between winners and unforced errors was stark in the middle set. The Spaniard hit 11 winners and four unforced errors compared to 14 winners and 17 unforced errors out of his opponent.
Nadal faced more of a challenge to finish off his 100th-career win on the Paris clay, as Djokovic won five games in the last set.
The threat posed by Djokovic in the back end of the third set led Nadal to say that he played incredible tennis for a two-and-a-half sets, per ATPTour.com:
"I played at an amazing level of tennis. For two-sets-and-a-half sets I played great. I can't say another thing. It’s impossible to have this score against him without playing great. I played a very good final. I played at my highest level when I needed to play at my highest level, so [it’s] something that I am very proud of."
Nadal avoided a third-set tiebreak by capturing the final three games of the third set, and he finished the match with an ace from left to right.
Djokovic said he was impressed with the way Nadal extended his Roland Garros dominance, per ATPTour.com.
"He was not missing at all and getting every ball back, just playing tactically great. I felt well throughout the entire tournament. I thought I was in great form. Certainly, I could have played better, especially in the first two sets. But he did surprise me with the way he was playing, the quality of tennis he was producing, the level. He's phenomenal. He played a perfect match, especially in the first two sets."
Nadal now has a four-year winning streak at Roland-Garros, and only three others players have taken the men's singles final in France since his reign began in 2005. Roger Federer won in 2009, Stan Wawrinka captured the crown in 2015 and Djokovic won his lone clay-court major in 2016.
Sunday's victory brought Nadal level with Federer for the most Grand Slam singles titles won by a male player.
Djokovic is now three titles behind the other members of the "Big Three," but he could close the gap at the 2021 Australian Open since he has won four of the last six majors down under.
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Statistics obtained from RolandGarros.com