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Brilliant Rafael Nadal wins French Open title

The Spaniard completes his own La Decima by crushing Swiss Stan Wawrinka to claim a record 10th Roland Garros

Rafael Nadal shows his delight after claiming the Roland Garros championship, yesterday.

Rafael Nadal shows his delight after claiming the Roland Garros championship, yesterday.

Rafael Nadal was at his most masterful on the stage he has made his own and needed just two hours and five minutes to beat Stan Wawrinka 6-2 6-3 6-1.

The 31-year-old lost only 35 games in seven matches and won the title without dropping a set for the third time.

Wawrinka, who may have been feeling the effects of an epic semi-final against Andy Murray, started slowly and could not get into the match.

It is a first grand slam final defeat for the Swiss, who won the Australian Open in 2014, here two years ago and the US Open last summer.

Nadal has not had to wait as long as Real Madrid did for a 10th European title but, for a man who won nine titles in 10 years, two years without one was virtually an eternity.

After losing just his second match here against Novak Djokovic in the quarter-finals in 2015, Nadal was forced to pull out ahead of the third round last year with a left wrist injury.

Wawrinka had dominated the baseline against Murray and smacked 87 winners but here he was being pushed way back by Nadal’s vicious spin.

The high forehand to a one-hander’s backhand, the shot that has been Roger Federer’s nemesis, was working just as well against his compatriot.

Wawrinka actually had the first break point in the third game in a scratchy start to the match but soon he was the one under pressure.

It threatened to get embarrassing for the Swiss when Nadal, his forehands now as venomous as a viper, raced into a 3-0 lead in the second set.

Nadal hit surely the shot of the tournament in the sixth game, taking a fine Wawrinka backhand and lashing it down the line without even looking.

Things did not improve for Wawrinka as Nadal broke serve again in the opening game of the third set.

Everything Wawrinka tried was returned to him with interest, not that the 32-year-old ever stopped fighting.

He whipped the crowd up when he created a game point to hold for 2-3 only for Nadal to scramble a defensive lob just inside the baseline, with Wawrinka netted the smash.

He lost the next two points as well to give Nadal another break and the Spaniard raced across the finish line.

Nadal, who has now closed back to within three of Federer’s all-time record with a 15th slam title, said in halting French: “It’s truly amazing.

“This final to win La Decima for me is very, very special. It’s very emotional for me.”

Nadal continued: “The feeling I have is impossible to describe.

“The nerves, the adrenaline that I feel when I play in this court is impossible to compare. It’s the most important tournament in my career and to win again is something I can’t describe.”

While Nadal lifted the Coupe des Mousquetaires, a huge banner was unveiled in the stands saying, ‘Bravo Rafa’, highlighting his legacy in this tournament.

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