Rafael Nadal beats Novak Djokovic to win ninth French Open title

Rafael Nadal saw off the threat of Novak Djokovic for another year to win his ninth French Open title and a record fifth in succession.

The Spaniard, 28, coped better in hot conditions as he won 3-6 7-5 6-2 6-4 in three hours and 31 minutes.

Nadal is the first man ever to win a major title nine times, taking his Grand Slam total to 14.

The victory also means he will remain world number one ahead of Djokovic.

“In matches like this every moment is crucial. Playing against Novak is always a big challenge, I had lost against him the last four times,” Nadal said on court.

“I feel sorry for him today, he deserves to win this tournament.”

It is the third year in a row that Nadal has ended Djokovic’s hopes of winning the one Grand Slam title he lacks, with the Serb in particular struggling on a stifling Parisian afternoon and ending with a double fault on match point.

“Congratulations to Rafa and his team, it is incredible to win this tournament nine times,” Djokovic said.

“It was an emotional day. I have tried with all my power, my strength, my capacities but Rafa was the strongest on court.”

Nadal extended his incredible run at Roland Garros to 66 wins and just one defeat in the last 10 years.

That record looked under threat when he dropped the first set as his usually fearsome forehand let him down, five errors handing Djokovic the initiative. BBC

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