PARIS — Rafael Nadal is still better on clay than Roger Federer, beating the player with the most Grand Slam titles for the fourth time in the French Open final.
Nadal equaled Bjorn Borg’s record of six titles at Roland Garros and earned his 10th career major championship with the 7-5, 7-6 (3), 5-7, 6-1 victory Sunday, dropping to his knees and covering his face after Federer sent a forehand long on match point.
“To win this final against one of the best players in the world and in history is something which is really fantastic for me,” said Nadal, who will keep his No. 1 ranking. “It’s one of my most beautiful dreams.”
Nadal improved his record at Roland Garros to 45-1, and to 17-8 against Federer. In Grand Slam finals, Nadal is 6-2 against his main rival.
“As it often happens, he is the best on clay,” Federer said. “He proved it once again.”
Nadal was playing to Federer’s backhand on Court Philippe Chatrier, but even the 16-time Grand Slam champion’s forehand was off. He committed 56 unforced errors in the match, while Nadal had only 27.
In the break of service that finally broke Federer for good, the Swiss missed an easy forehand, double-faulted and then put a forehand into the net. That gave Nadal a 3-1 lead in the fourth set, and enough to hold on for victory.
Nadal is the second youngest man behind Borg to reach 10 major titles. The Spaniard also is about six months younger than Federer was when he won his 10th.