French Open

Rafael Nadal – A Perfect “10” French Open Victory With No Sets Lost

by Randy Walker

@TennisPublisher

 

It was “Perfect 10.”

Rafael Nadal won his incredible 10th men’s singles title at Roland Garros, without losing a set, capped with a 6-3, 6-2, 6-1 demolition of Stan Wawrinka in the final.

The win marked Nadal’s 15th major title, moving him out of a second-place tie with Pete Sampras for most major singles titles won in a career.

Nadal lost only 35 games en route to the title – his best run to the championship in his 10 victory laps – and the fewest games lost by a major champion since Bjorn Borg lost only 32 en route to winning the 1978 French Open.

No man in the history of tennis has won more titles at a single major championship, Margaret Court being the only player to win double-digit titles at a major when she won 11 Australian singles titles.

It is interesting to note and remember that Nadal led Roger Federer by a service break in the fifth set of their Australian Open final earlier this year. Had Nadal held on to win that match and win the title Down Under, coupled with his win at Roland Garros, he would have only trailed Federer by one major singles title in the career haul 17-16. However, Federer’s comeback win gave him his 18th major singles win and he now leads Nadal 18-15 as the resting Federer prepares to make an assault on an eighth Wimbledon title – and a 19th major – on the grass.

Nadal’s win came 39 years to the day when Borg completed his devastating run to the French title in 1978, with a 6-1, 6-1, 6-3 victory over Guillermo Vilas, according to the book, ebook, audio book and mobile app “This Day In Tennis History.”

It is interesting to read the words of Vilas after being pummeled by Borg and it sounds like Wawrinka talking about Nadal. “He played so well, he didn’t give me any chances at all,” said Vilas. “I knew if I was going to play from the baseline all the time, I was going to win more games but not the match. So I tried different tactics, but it did not work. Nothing worked.”

Jelena Ostapenko Creates Fascinating Tennis Trivia, Talking Points In Roland Garros Victory

by Randy Walker

@TennisPublisher

 

There are too many fascinating facts about Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia winning the women’s singles title at Roland Garros not to share.

The 20-year-old No. 47-ranked defeated Simona Halep 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 in the final to become not only the first player from Latvia to win a major championship, but became the first unseeded player to win the women’s title since Margaret Scriven in 1933. Since there are now 32 seeded players in major championships (since 2001), this is an even more outstanding statistic when only 16 players were seeded in most championships – or even only eight in 1933 when Scriven won.

Incredibly, Ostapenko had never won a professional tournament before her dramatic win in Paris. She became the first player to make Roland Garros their maiden pro tournament victory since Gustavo Kuerten of Brazil did the same as the No. 66-ranked player – on the exact day that Ostapenko was born, June 8, 1997.

On Thursday, June 8, 2017 – Ostapenko’s 20th birthday – she advanced into the women’s final with 7-6(4), 3-6, 6-3 win over Timea Bacsinsky, who was also celebrating her birthday, turning 28.

Halep, who would have won her first major championship and secure the world No. 1 ranking with the win, led the match 6-4, 3-0 but was not able to close out the match against the loose and free-hitting Ostapenko. Halep also led 3-1 in the final set but, again, could not close out the championship. In one of the most famous – or infamous – let-cord shots in the history of tennis, Ostapenko secured her crucial service break when she hit a down-the-line backhand that was heading wide, but clipped the top of the net, bouncing high in the air while also ricocheting back into the court for a winner.

Ostapenko hit an equalizing 54 winners and 54 unforced errors in the final.

Ostapenko becomes the lowest-RANKED player to win a major singles title since Serena Williams won the 2007 Australian Open when she was ranked No. 81. Kim Clijsters won the 2009 US Open when she did not have a ranking, returning to pro tennis after retirement to have a child.

Without Serena, American Hopes Of Title At French Open Are Slim

We are in the midst of the worst decade of men’s American tennis in the Open era. Things would be just as dire on the women’s side if not for the Williams sisters. As we head into the second Grand Slam event of the 2017 season, the French Open on the red clay of Roland Garros, is there any reason to think an American can win a title in Paris?

With Serena Williams sidelined the rest of 2017 due to her pregnancy, the chances are very slim. The shortest BookMaker odds to win of any U.S. player belong to Venus Williams at +3000. That tells you all you need to know about the state of American tennis as Venus is an all-time great but also 36 and well past her prime. Planning to bet on the French Open? Check out SBR’s Bookmaker review and visit its website for more tennis odds.

On the men’s side, an American hasn’t won the French Open since Andre Agassi in 1999. Incidentally, Agassi could have an impact on this year’s tournament as he is the new coach of world No. 2 and second-betting favorite Novak Djokovic, the defending champion. In the Open era, Americans have won the French just four times overall; in addition to Agassi, Jim Courier won it back-to-back in 1991-92 and Michael Chang did in 1989. A U.S. player hasn’t reached the finals since Agassi’s win. All-time great Pete Sampras never reached a final.

Many believe that clay is a gimmick surface, and that Americans don’t fare well on it because they don’t grow up learning the game on that surface. It’s a prevalent surface in Spain, for example, and Spaniards have combined for 15 French Open titles in the Open era, led by Rafael Nadal’s record nine. He’s the -125 favorite at BookMaker, an A+-rated site at Sportsbook Review, to make it No. 10 in a couple of weeks.

The highest-ranked American man in the world is Jack Sock at No. 15, and he’s a +15000 long shot to win his first Grand Slam event. He’s unfortunately in the same part of the draw as Nadal so they could meet in the fourth round. The furthest Sock has gone at Roland Garros is the fourth round in 2015. He has yet to make a quarterfinal in any Grand Slam tournament.

John Isner is the second-best American player and ranked 22nd. The big hitter is +20000 to win the tournament. He’s looking at likely third-round matchup against No. 13 Tomas Berdych. Isner’s best result at the French Open is the fourth round, and he has reached the quarterfinals of just one Slam: the 2011 U.S. Open.

On the women’s side, Serena would have been the BookMaker betting favorite to win. She is a three-time champion in Paris, still her fewest of any Grand Slam tournament. Sister Venus is the highest-ranked U.S. player on the women’s side, but clay is easily her worst surface. Venus was a runner-up at the French in 2002 but hasn’t advanced past the fourth round since 2006.

Madison Keys is ranked 13th in the world and is +5000 to win. It’s her fifth French Open, and Keys’ best result was the fourth round last year. Only one American woman has won the French other than Serena since 1986: Jennifer Capriati in 2001.

France is simply not kind to Americans – the cliché is very true in terms of tennis.

A Preview of the 2017 French Open

The French Open at Roland Garros in Paris is the second Grand Slam of the year, and, following Roger Federer’s success in Melbourne where he claimed the 18th GS title of his career, it could spring another surprise winner.

 

Rafael Nadal tops the betting with the bookmakers, where the King of Clay can be backed at 5/2 to win his 10th French Open title, with a number of free bet offers also available to first-time punters. The Spaniard looked back to his best in the Australian Open where he was runner-up, and although he has struggled with injuries over the last couple of years, it now appears he is 100% fit again.

Nadal has only been beaten on three occasions at Roland-Garros, and the world number seven will be the name everyone will want to avoid in their half of the draw. With a full preparation expected this year, the man from Manacor will fancy his chances of lifting the trophy in Paris once again.

Defending champion Novak Djokovic has not been as consistent since his victory in this event in 2016. The Serbian was surprisingly beaten by Sam Querrey in the third round at Wimbledon just a month after his win in Paris, and the 12-time Grand Slam winner then lost his place at the top of the world rankings to Andy Murray. Not only that, but he has also started 2017 poorly, going out in the second round of the Australian Open to Denis Istomin.

The French Open has historically been Djokovic’s worst Grand Slam tournament. His game is not generally suited to clay; however, most recently he has been able to adapt to the surface well, which has resulted in him reaching the last two finals.

Djokovic missed the Miami Open last week due to injury and will now get some rest before the clay court season. If he is to return to the top of the world rankings at the end of the year, he will need to find his best game again ahead of the two Grand Slams in the middle of the calendar year.

Murray is also struggling with a niggling injury at the moment, and was forced to pull out of the Miami Open. The world number one has only made the final once at Roland-Garros and that was last year where he lost to Djokovic in four sets.

The British player has already won a title in 2017, as he was successful in the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships last month. He did, however, lose in the second round of the Indian Wells Masters a week later to Vasek Pospisil.

Despite clay being his least successful surface, Murray has performed consistently well in France over the last three years; he has gone as far as at least the semi-final in each of those tournaments.

Murray won his first clay court tournament in Madrid in 2015 where he beat Nadal in straight sets in the final. In what is arguably the most open French Open in many years, the world’s top-ranked player will be in with a big chance of breaking his maiden in Paris in June.

Djokovic Completes “Novak Slam” With Roland Garros Victory

by Kevin Craig

@KCraig_Tennis

 

Novak Djokovic was able to complete the “Novak Slam” on Sunday as he defeated Andy Murray for his first French Open title after four runs to the final, and he now has won all four major titles consecutively.

The Serb was able to withstand an early onslaught from the Brit, who many believed to be the favorite in the match, and eventually won in four sets by a score of 3-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-4, giving Djokovic his 12th major title and making him the first player to simultaneously own all four major titles since Rod Laver in 1969.

“It was flawless tennis. I really felt like I played on a high quality,” said Djokovic.

The Serb, so excited to win that one major title that had remained out of his grasp throughout his career, called it “a thrilling moment. One of the most beautiful I have had in my career.”

Djokovic, who had beaten Murray in 12 of their past 14 matches, attacked first, breaking at love to open up the match before Murray turned the tables. Two breaks in a row with a hold at love in between gave Murray a 3-1 lead, and he didn’t look back from there as not much went against serve from that moment on. Three holds later and Murray was two sets away from his third major title.

“Nerves kicked in. I needed a little bit of time to really find the right rhythm and start to play the way I intended,” said Djokovic.

The No. 1 player in the world wasn’t going to go down that easy, though, and the second set was all his as he was able to find that right rhythm. After saving a break point in the first game of the set, Djokovic completely dominated. Murray was broken in two of his three service games, and the one in which he was not broken he fought off a break point and was taken to deuce. The Serb also only lost three points total in his last three service games, completing the recipe of how to win a set 6-1.

The third set was more of the same as Djokovic broke Murray twice. There was more difficulty on serve in the set for the Serb as he lost at least two points in each of his service games, while being taken to deuce twice. In one of those deuce games, Djokovic staved off four break points, making the statement that he would not be missing out on another opportunity to win his first French Open.

With a break to open up the fourth set, Djokovic had all but finished off the No. 2 player in the world. After losing only one point on serve total in his next three service games and taking Murray to deuce twice, Djokovic earned a 0-40 lead at 4-2 and capitalized on his first opportunity to break and set up a chance to serve for the title.

The Brit was able to show some signs of life as he broke Djokovic and consolidated his serve to extend the match, but it just delayed the inevitable. In the next game, Djokovic was able to hold to close out the match, finally earning the right to call himself a French Open champion.

“In the last point, I don’t even remember what happened…it’s like my spirit left my body” said Djokovic.

With this title, the 29-year old has become just the eighth man in history to complete the career grand slam, solidifying his right to be in the conversation of the greatest tennis players of all time.

Garbine Muguruza Claims Maiden Major Beating Serena Williams For French Open Title

by Kevin Craig

@KCraig_Tennis

Garbine Muguruza of Spain won her first major title Saturday defeating defending champion and world No. 1 Serena Williams 7-5, 6-4 in the French Open women’s singles final.

The Spaniard, who was the No. 4 seed in the tournament, gave Williams a taste of her own medicine as she was able to completely outhit the 21-time major champion, blasting winner after winner.

Muguruza came into the match on a roll, having won 10 sets in a row and nine of her last 10 matches. The 22-year old, after dropping her first set of her French Open, was able to grow in confidence throughout her run in Paris, beating the 2009 French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova and the 2010 French Open runner up Sam Stosur along the way, while also losing more than three games only three times in 10 sets, as well as winning two sets at 6-0.

Not only was her recent run of form a reason to feel confident heading into this match, but so was the fact that she had already defeated Williams at the French Open, coming in the second round of the 2014 edition of the tournament.

The confidence of Muguruza carried over into the final and never wavered throughout the match despite how many opportunities she had to crumble under the pressure of playing in just her second major final, the previous coming in 2015 at Wimbledon where she lost to her opponent on Saturday.

Williams, who was the defending French Open champion, started off well, dropping just one point in her first two service games and forcing Muguruza to save two break points in just her second service game of the match. Saving those break points proved to be a turning point for the Spaniard, though, as she was able to break in the next game, eventually holding a 4-2 lead.

Williams, who was seeking her fourth French Open title, was able to break back later in the set, but Muguruza continued to go for her shots and asserted herself on the court, allowing her to break in the 11th game of the first set before fighting off two more break points in the next game to take the one set lead.

That run continued for Muguruza as she was able to break Williams in her first two service games of the second set, allowing the American to win just two points on serve, but those two breaks bookended a run of three consecutive breaks overall, meaning Muguruza only had a one-break advantage to work with.

With Muguruza holding a break lead at 2-1, it was a test of nerves for the rest of the match as the whole tennis world waited to see how long it would be before she would falter. That moment never came, though, as Muguruza only lost a total of four points on serve in her final four service games.

When Williams served to stay in the match at 3-5, Muguruza looked poised to take the title in that game as she had a look at four championship points in a 16-point game, but Williams showed her tenacious spirit that she has become known for, fighting them all off and extending the match.

The feeling was present that Williams would be able to apply pressure on Muguruza as she served for the title, especially after saving those four championship points, but the Spaniard was having none of that as she held at love to win her first major title, sealing the deal with a lob winner that landed on the baseline.

Muguruza, who will now reach a new career high ranking and become the No. 2 player in the world, has proven to the tennis world that she will be a major threat on the WTA Tour for a long time.

This title makes her the third consecutive first time major champion as Flavia Pennetta won the US Open last year and Angelique Kerber won the Australian Open earlier this year, both being first time winners.

Muguruza also tied the record for fewest titles owned when winning her first major title, as she had only won two titles on the WTA Tour coming into this event.

Andy Murray Ends Stan Wawrinka’s Roland Garros Reign

by Kevin Craig

@KCraig_Tennis

 

Andy Murray dethroned the defending French Open champion Stan Wawrinka on Friday with a 6-4, 6-2, 4-6, 6-2 win.

Murray, who became the first player from Great Britain to reach the French Open in 79 years after Bunny Austin did so in 1937, played an almost perfect match as he reached his first French Open final and his 10th major final overall.

“I played one of my best matches here today,” said Murray in his post-match interview on court.

The No. 2 seed Murray, who had to battle from a two sets to love deficit in the first round against Radek Stepanek and a two sets to one deficit to a French wild card in the second round, has been able to gain confidence throughout his run to the final and return to the form that saw him win the title in Rome just before the French Open began.

That form from Murray was at peak levels on Friday against a player who reached his own peak levels of form in the French Open final in 2015 as Wawrinka put on a masterclass performance to snatch the title and the calendar grand slam from Novak Djokovic last year.

When Wawrinka, who was on a 12-match win streak at Roland Garros, held at love and forced Murray to take 11 minutes to hold his first service game, it looked like things may very well be in the favor of the Suisse in the early stages. This may not have been surprising at all to fans of Wawrinka as he had won his last three matches against Murray and had never lost a set to him on clay.

That feeling quickly changed though as Murray was able to save a break point before breaking Wawrinka in the next game, eventually leading 3-1.

The rest of the set was pretty straight forward until Murray served to close out the set as he was forced to fend off three break points before taking the one set lead.

It was all Murray in the second set as he broke Wawrinka at love for a 2-1 lead before breaking again two games later, eventually closing out the set 6-2, losing just three points on serve in the set that lasted only 27 minutes.

Murray continued to roll on serve in the third set, holding at love in his first three service games. The problem for the Brit was he was unable to convert the one break point he saw in the set, and Wawrinka was able to take advantage of the first poor service game Murray played since the beginning of the match, fighting back from 40-15 and winning four points in a row to break and win the set.

Wawrinka stealing the third set just delayed the inevitable as Murray’s roll went right over that minor speed bump as he was able to break in the first game of the fourth set. Murray had zero trouble on serve in the fourth set, losing just four points in four games, including a hold at love to close out the match and clinch his spot in the final.

“Stan has been unbelievable the last two years. I’ve played one of my best matches today…I’m just really proud. I never expected to reach the final here…Hopefully I can put up a good match in the final,” said Murray.

Murray’s impressive fitness level and ability to hit effective groundstrokes from anywhere on the court were on full display, as he looks like he can pose a very dangerous threat to Djokovic in this year’s final.

MurrayBeatsWawrinka

Shelby Rogers Continues Cinderella Run In French Open Quarterfinals

by Kevin Craig

@KCraig_Tennis

 

Shelby Rogers, the 23-year-old American ranked No. 108 in the world, reached her first major quarterfinal at Roland Garros Sunday as she dispatched the No. 25 seed Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4.

Rogers, the second-to-last directly accepted player into the tournament, is making the most of her opportunity as she has now defeated her third seeded opponent in four rounds.

After defeating the No. 17 seed Karolina Pliskova in the first round and the No. 10 seed Petra Kvitova in the third round, Rogers went into her fourth round encounter with Begu brimming with confidence.

“I have done that pretty much this whole tournament, starting with the first round” said Rogers of backing up a big win with another stellar performance. “That was a huge upset for me and kind of set the tone for the last few matches I have played.”

Rogers, who made the final of a clay court tournament in Rio in February of this year, got off to a good start on Sunday, breaking Begu in just the third game of the match to get out to an early lead. That lead would be backed up by a strong serving performance in the first set, as Rogers didn’t face a single break point and only lost one point in her last two service games before grabbing another break at 5-3 to close out the set.

Rogers ensured that she kept playing with the aggressive mindset that she had used to get her to this stage and it was paying dividends so far in the fourth round.

“Keep your game plan and your strategy and keep doing what you have been doing…just keep going after it…It was working in the first, it’s going to work again. So keep doing it,” said Rogers.

After Begu was able to break in the first game of the second set and jump out to a 2-0 lead, Rogers was able to turn the momentum back in her favor with that same strategy, allowing herself to reel off four games in a row, including two breaks and two holds at love, putting herself just two games from the quarterfinals.

The Romanian did not go away, though, breaking Begu back and taking the set to 4-4. Rogers was able to restore order with a hold to go up 5-4, before quickly going up 15-40 and capitalizing on her first break point of the game, getting an unforced error from Begu that gave her the win.

Rogers, who will now take on the No. 4 seed Garbine Muguruza in the quarterfinals, has to keep reminding herself that this isn’t a dream.

“I’m definitely outside of my comfort zone already and I keep telling myself you belong here,” said Rogers. “I’m ready to step up the challenge. I have nothing to lose. I have no pressure. It’s just been a great experience here and I want to keep enjoying it and keep pushing myself.”

Richard Gasquet also had an emotional win on Sunday as he was able to reach his first quarterfinal at the French Open with a four set win over Kei Nishikori, 6-4, 6-2, 4-6, 6-2.

When the rain came and delayed play for a couple hours, Gasquet found himself down a break in the first set. However, once he and Nishikori returned to the court, the Frenchman had everything going his way, and, before he could even realize it, found himself up two sets to love.

“I think this rain interruption did me a world of good because we had a very good chat,” said Gasquet of utilizing his time off the court to discuss strategy with his coach Sergi Bruguera.

Gasquet closed out the second set with a winner off of his majestic one-handed backhand wing and sent the French crowd into a frenzy. That French crowd has been looking for a home champion since Yannick Noah won the title in 1983.

Gasquet, of course, still has three more matches to win, the first of which will be against Andy Murray in the quarterfinals, but reaching the quarterfinals is an achievement in itself for him.

Calling Court Philippe-Chatrier the “biggest stage in the world for a French player,” Gasquet had more than enough motivation to get himself through the match and earn the win.

The match felt like “a Davis Cup match for me today,” said Gasquet. “I admit it made a big difference for me and of course it will be the same on Tuesday, but for sure I need to play a big match.”

Rafael Nadal Withdrawal Shocks Roland Garros

by Kevin Craig

@KCraig_Tennis

 

The biggest news of the day at the French Open on Friday wasn’t caused by something that happened on the court, rather by a decision made by nine-time champion Rafael Nadal. The Spaniard, who was the No. 4 seed in the event this year, announced that he had withdrawn himself from the tournament.

“This is one of the toughest press conferences of my career…If it wasn’t Roland Garros, I probably wouldn’t have taken the risks (of playing with an injury). It’s the most important event of the year for me,” said Nadal.

The cause of Nadal’s surprising decision was a left wrist injury that the Spaniard has been dealing with for the past “couple of weeks”, just another bullet point on a long list of injuries that have hindered his success in the past few years.

Nadal first felt pain in his wrist three weeks ago when he played in the quarterfinals of Madrid, but attempted to play through the pain in Rome, and then in Paris.

After beating Sam Groth and Facundo Bagnis in his first two matches in Paris, losing only nine games in the process, many began to believe that Nadal would be able to provide a tough challenge to Novak Djokovic in the latter stages of the tournament.

Unfortunately for Nadal and fans of tennis, there will not be a 50th meeting between the two great champions, as the pain in Nadal’s wrist continued to grow.

“I arrived here with a little bit of pain but I thought it was something I would be able to manage, but every day it got a bit worse,” said Nadal.

While many will be disappointed with his decision to leave the tournament, Nadal is doing what is best for him and his career as he is weary of the potential problems that would come from playing with his injured wrist.

“It’s not broken, but if I keep playing it’s going to be broken in the next couple of days,” said Nadal.

“To have won the tournament I would have had to play five more matches and the doctor told me that was 100 percent impossible,” said Nadal.

Nadal and his team hope that he will be able to play in Wimbledon and are taking all the necessary steps to ensure that happens.

“I need a couple of weeks with the immobilization. Then we’re going to do the treatment and we hope the treatment works well. We expect to recover quick,” said Nadal.

Nadal’s withdrawal grants fellow Spaniard Marcel Granollers a walkover into the fourth round.

On the court, headlines were made by 23-year old American Shelby Rogers as she upset two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova by a 6-0, 6-7(3), 6-0 score line.

After racing out a hot start, converting on three out of four break points and saving the only one she faced in the first set, Rogers began to be challenged by Kvitova in the second set. The Czechwoman had a breakpoint in Rogers’ first service game of the second set but couldn’t convert, but did grab her first and only break of the match when Rogers was serving up a break at 4-3 and looked like it could be a turning point.

Kvitova went on to take the second set in a tiebreak, but was unable to carry the momentum over into the decider. Rogers stood strong and continued to play well as she had done all match, going up 0-40 in Kvitova’s first service game and breaking for an early lead. Kvitova had a look to break right back, but once again failed to convert on a break point, and that was ultimately where the match ended.

Rogers went on to break twice more, with a hold at love thrown in the middle, to close out the set and the match.

Rogers, the No. 108 player in the world, earned her first appearance in the fourth round of a major with her win over the No. 10 seed. The moment gave Rogers, and fans of American tennis, plenty to cheer for and be emotional about.

“It was incredible…I’m one that cries very easily and I think everyone saw that. I immediately started crying,” said Rogers.

Irina-Camelia Begu, the No. 25 seed from Romania, will be Rogers’ next opponent.

Rafael Nadal A Bigger Threat To Win Roland Garros After Monte Carlo Win

It is the ninth time that Rafael Nadal has won the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters. The win has increased Nadal’s French Open odds. He was crowned champion last Sunday after he won 7-5, 5-7, 6-0 against Gael Monfils in the final. He is now the second favorite to win the championship in Paris. It was an extra special day as Prince Albert II along with Princess Charlene watched from the royal box to see Nadal win a 28th trophy on the ATP tour.

It was the first win for Nadal in nearly two years. The 29-year-old went on a record winning streak of 46 matches unbeaten at the Monte-Carlo Country Club between 2005 – 2012. His run came to an end when Novak Djokovic beat him in the final in 2013.

The win puts Nadal back in the frame for the French Open. His form has suffered in recent years due to injuries and age taking its toll. He showed though at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters that he is back to his best. Many experts are making French Open tennis predictions that he will make the final.

The last time that Nadal won a competition on the APT World Tour was in August 2015. He won in Hamburg beating Fognini in the final.

The final between Nadal and Monfils lasted two-hours and 45 minutes. It was an epic battle and to begin with it looked like Monfils would be victorious. He made great shot selections when it mattered most, and his defensive side of the game was exceptional. Nadal hit his stride though and to pull the victory out of the bag.

Nadal proved he is back to full fitness at long last, and it was his energy that won it for him. Monfils was worn out having to return all of Nadal’s powerful baseline shots. After winning match point, Nadal was extremely emotional falling to his knees. You could tell exactly how much it meant to the player from Spain.

Monfils was graceful after the game saying the better man won on the day. He left Nadal played unbelievably well, and there was nothing he could do to counter it.

It was a staggering 100th final at tour-level that Nadal has competed he. The Spaniard has managed to win 68 of them.  It is the sixth time that a player has reached 100 finals in Open Era on the ATP Tour. He is just a single trophy away from beating the record of most titles on clay-court. The record for the Open era is set by Guillermo Vilas and stands at 49. With the event in Paris on clay-court Nadal’s French Open odds of beating the record have tumbled. It could be a magical tournament for Nadal if he can carry on his form from Monaco.

It is going to be interesting in Paris to see if Nadal or Djokovic will make it to the final and claim the crown. It is hard seeing past them both when making French Open tennis predictions. If Nadal wins, he will beat the record and if Djokovic wins he will claim the only trophy missing from his cabinet. Hopefully the effects of Nadal’s recent loss in Australia won’t be affecting him, and both players bring their best game