Rafael Nadal clinically took apart Novak Djokovic in a clay court masterclass on Sunday to win his 13th French Open and 20th Grand Slam.
Nadal broke Djokovic in the first game of the match and would clinch the first set 6-0 in quick time.
Nadal powers to 13th French Open title
Djokovic tried to get his drop shot working but Nadal belied his age with his court mastery and dominated the match from the get-go.
After a nightmare first set where Nadal found an answer to just about everything Djokovic could throw at him, the Serbian finally held serve in the first game of the second set.
Djokovic even got himself 15-30 up in the first Nadal service game of the second set but the Spaniard powered back.
The world number one’s rally was short-lived as Nadal managed to break his serve yet again in the third game of the second set eventually forcing an error to claim the break at the third time of asking.
Djokovic upped the ante again in Nadal’s next service game but the king of Roland Garros would not be denied and held serve to consolidate his advantage.
Nadal scored back-to-back breaks to go 4-1 up in the second set before holding to love to make it 5-1. Djokovic dug deep to stay in the second set but couldn’t hope to get on top of the Spaniard who took the second 6-2.
Djokovic grew into the match as it went on but as he slid up a gear so it seemed did Nadal, and after the first four games went to serve in the third set, the Spaniard broke again.
Nadal’s power game was great but even he broke out the deftest of drop shots at times to leave Djokovic stranded.
Nadal’s powerful forehand gave Djokovic no chance on several occasions and any hopes of an upset quickly looked like a pipedream.
Djokovic found some footing in the match when he broke back to make it 3-3 in the third set.
Nadal squandered a break point in the ninth game of the third set to prolong the drama in Paris. He then held serve under extreme pressure from Djokovic.
A challenge earned Nadal a crucial break in the 11th game as Djokovic double-faulted by four millimetres to give Rafa a 6-5 lead and the chance to serve for the match.
Nadal had three championship points but needed just one as he aced Djokovic to complete an incredible 6-0, 6-2 and 7-5 victory.
The Spaniard is now level with Roger Federer on 20 Grand Slams won.
How Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal reached Sunday’s final
Djokovic (SRB x1)
1st rd: bt Mikael Ymer (SWE) 6-0, 6-2, 6-3
2nd rd: bt Ricardas Berankis (LTU) 6-1, 6-2, 6-2
3rd rd: bt Daniel Galan (COL) 6-0, 6-3, 6-2
4th rd: bt Karen Khachanov (RUS x15) 6-4, 6-3, 6-3
QF: bt Pablo Carreno Busta (ESP x17) 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-4
SF: bt Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE x5) 6-3, 6-2, 5-7, 4-6, 6-1
Nadal (ESP x2)
1st rd: bt Egor Gerasimov (BLR) 6-4, 6-4, 6-2
2nd rd: bt Mackenzie McDonald (USA) 6-1, 6-0, 6-3
3rd rd: bt Stefano Travaglia (ITA) 6-1, 6-4, 6-0
4th rd: bt Sebastian Korda (USA) 6-1, 6-1, 6-2
QF: bt Jannik Sinner (ITA) 7-6 (7/4), 6-4, 6-1
SF: bt Diego Schwartzman (ARG x12) 6-3, 6-3, 7-6 (7/0)
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