Tennis: Nadal keeps top ranking, equalizes Borg record

After beating Roger Federer (7-5, 7-6, 5-7, 6-1) in Roland Garros final on Sunday, Rafael Nadal maintained first place in the men’s tennis rankings and, by claiming a sixth French Open crown, equalized the Roland Garros record of Bjorn Borg.

Nadal has 12 070 points for a slender 45-point advantage over the Serb Djokovic, who is on 12 025. Federer remains third, with 9 230 points.

The 25-year-old Nadal joined Bjorn Borg as the second player in history to win six titles at the clay-court Grand Slam championship. The Spaniard won four successive titles from 2005-2008 (defeating Federer in the ’06-’08 finals) and regained his trophy last year with victory over Robin Soderling.

“For me it’s something very special to equal the six titles of Bjorn, for sure,” said Nadal, quoted by “But for me, the most important thing is to win Roland Garros. It’s really an honour to have this record with him. I am going to keep working to be here next year and to try to play well another time.”

Just three days after his 25th birthday, Nadal won his 10th major singles title in his 12th final. In addition to his six victories in Paris, the Mallorcan has won Wimbledon twice, in 2008 and 2010, he lifted the Australian Open trophy in 2009, and last year completed the career Grand Slam with victory at the US Open. His only defeats in Grand Slam finals have come against Federer, at Wimbledon in 2006-2007.

World No. 3 Federer was bidding to win his 17th major title and triumph at Roland Garros for the second time, having beaten Soderling in the 2009 final to complete the career Grand Slam. It was his fourth runner-up finish at Roland Garros, and his seventh defeat in a major final – all have come at the hands of Nadal.

“When I went into the rain delay, I was down basically two sets almost,” reflected Federer. “I almost saved myself, but I’m very competitive, and I thought he was getting tired throughout the third set and also in the fourth. It was unfortunate I couldn’t take my chances early on in the fourth. Rafa played well and deserved the win today.

The Swiss, who had been somewhat eclipsed by the achievements of Nadal and Djokovic in the lead-up to Roland Garros, hit his stride in Paris as he advanced to the final having spent just 12 hours and 52 minutes on court, compared to 17 hours and 17 minutes for Nadal. In the semi-finals, Federer had ended Djokovic’s 41-match winning streak in 2011 with victory in four sets to reach his first Grand Slam final since beating Murray at the 2010 Australian Open.

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