French Open title again eludes Federer
Monday, June 11, 2007
Nadal improved to 21-0 in French Open matches with the victory.
PARIS -- There it stood, so tantalizingly close.
As Roger Federer tried in vain to solve Rafael Nadal in the French Open final, the silver Coupe des Mousquetaires -- the only Grand Slam trophy missing from the No. 1-ranked player's collection -- sparkled in the sun behind a baseline, 10 feet overhead.
So successful everywhere else, so superb against everyone else, Federer once more succumbed to Nadal at Roland Garros, one win short of a French Open title, one win short of a fourth consecutive major championship, one win short of a career Grand Slam.
Instead, it was Nadal who made a bit of history Sunday, showing true resolve on the biggest points to beat Federer 6-3, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 and become only the second man since 1914 to win three consecutive French Open titles.
"Spin it any way you want -- I'm disappointed to have lost. I couldn't care less how I played the last 10 months or the last 10 years. At the end of the day, I wanted to win that match," said Federer, who lost to Nadal in four sets in last year's final, too. "I couldn't do it. It's a shame. But life goes on."
Nadal saved a remarkable 16 of the 17 break points he faced, going 10-for-10 in the first set and 1-for-1 over the last two sets.
While Federer remains convinced he can win this event -- "And, eventually, if I get it, the sweeter it's going to taste," he said -- the real question might be how many French Opens will end as Sunday's did: with Nadal sprawled on his back, celebrating in the red clay.