French Open Final, Rafael Nadal vs Casper Ruud as it happened: Nadal wins 22nd Grand Slam title
The Spaniard is in his 14th final at Roland Garros, and Ruud is the first ever Norwegian man to make it this far at a Grand Slam.
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Note: * – to indicate if a player has a break of serve. Otherwise set on serve
That’s it from us here at The Field. Thanks for joining us. See you at Wimbledon.
There were two players, ahead of the French Open, who were expected to be the ones who could stop Rafael Nadal from winning a 14th Grand Slam title. One of them lost in the quarterfinals to Alexander Zverev. The other, Novak Djokovic, the only active player to have beaten the Spaniard at the French Open, was brushed aside by Nadal in four sets in their quarterfinal. After that there was just going to be one winner.
In the final, Casper Ruud, the first ever Norwegian man to get to a Grand Slam final, showed a few moments of resistance but there was never really much of a contest as Nadal raced away to a 14th French Open title with a 6-3, 6-3, 6-0 win. He promised, during his post-match speech, that he will continue to fight, and continue to play.
For now though, he can put up his feet and bask in the glory of 22nd Grand Slam title.
Rafael Nadal 6-3, 6-3, 6-0 Casper Ruud: RAFAEL NADAL IS A 22-TIME GRAND SLAM CHAMPION!
Rafael Nadal* 6-3, 6-3, 5-0 Casper Ruud: Nadal holds and is on course for a 21st bagel (6-0) at the French Open, and a third in the final.
Rafael Nadal* 6-3, 6-3, 4-0 Casper Ruud: Nadal gets the double break - nine games in a row. Ruud looking disheartened now. Can’t blame him.
Rafael Nadal* 6-3, 6-3, 3-0 Casper Ruud: A bit of resistence from Ruud in that game, with that no-look backhand winner. But no stoping the Nadal Express now. The Spaniard was in control, using that forehand to devastating effect.
Rafael Nadal* 6-3, 6-3, 2-0 Casper Ruud: Nadal now in the driver’s seat in this third set. Wins his seventh consecutive game, breaking Ruud at 30. The 14th French Open title is within reach now.
Rafael Nadal 6-3, 6-3, 1-0 Casper Ruud: Good start for Nadal to win the opening game of the set at 15.
Rafael Nadal 6-3, 6-3 Casper Ruud: Terrible choice of direction from Ruud at deuce. Had a short ball to face, ran around his backhand. Should have played straight down the line, instead went inside-out and gave the ball straight to Nadal who duly sent the ball back into the open court. And then Ruud served his first double fault of the match to hand the second set to the Spaniard.
Rafael Nadal* 6-3, 5-3 Casper Ruud: Nadal consolidates the break. Holds serve at love to get a step closer to going up two sets up, and that much closer to a 14th French Open title.
Rafael Nadal* 6-3, 4-3 Casper Ruud: Nadal gets the break. Few unforced errors from Ruud made the difference, especially since the Norwegian was up 40-30. Nadal now wins three games in a row - breaking twice. Just when we thought Ruud was getting more comfortable.
Rafael Nadal 6-3, 3-3 Casper Ruud: Comfortable hold for Nadal at love.
Rafael Nadal 6-3, 2-3 Casper Ruud: And we’re back on serve straight away. Nadal upped the ante a bit and Ruud played a few loose points to concede the break. Big ‘vamos’ from Nadal as Ruud’s shot sailed long to put this set back on serve.
Rafael Nadal 6-3, 1-3 Casper Ruud*: Big statement by Ruud, getting the break on the Nadal serve. Played an excellent point and showed some great intelligence to set up the break point at 0-40, using a backhand slice to make it difficult for Nadal to retrieve. And then the Spaniard served a double fault to hand the break,
Rafael Nadal 6-3, 1-2 Casper Ruud: Probably the most comfortable hold for Ruud in this match, at 15. Good big forehand inside-out winner (measured at 156 kmph) to go up 40-15, before he finished it off with good old fashion serve and volley. Surely, the confidence is back for the Norwegian.
Rafael Nadal 6-3, 1-1 Casper Ruud: Comfrotable service hold for Nadal at 15.
Rafael Nadal 6-3, 0-1 Casper Ruud: Ruud saves three break points to win that opening game of the second set. Good hold for the Norwegian.
Rafael Nadal 6-3 Casper Ruud: A commanding first set from Rafael Nadal, against a nervy Norwegian. Still plenty of time for Ruud to get back into the match though.
Rafael Nadal* 5-3 Casper Ruud: Good hold from Ruud, to 15. Signs of some improvement from the Norwegian. And he’ll make Nadal serve out this set.
Ruud has been staying further behind the baseline (more than two meters) than he has throughout the tournament during rallies.
Rafael Nadal* 5-2 Casper Ruud: Nadal is a game away from the opening set. He was up 40-0 before two unforced errors allowed Ruud a chance back into this game. Just a chance, which Nadal took away with ease.
Rafael Nadal* 4-2 Casper Ruud: Ruud finally holds serve. That ought to do his nerves a great deal of good. But it’s still Nadal who is in control of this set.
Rafael Nadal* 4-1 Casper Ruud: Nadal consolidates the break as Ruud groans as he watches his shot sail well wide of the lines. Comfortable hold for Nadal at 15.
Rafael Nadal* 3-1 Casper Ruud: Nadal gets the two-game cushion again. Very nervy game from Ruud despite him being up 40-30 and getting in two good forehand winners. Thereon he started to fluff his shots.
Rafael Nadal 2-1 Casper Ruud: And we’re back on serve, Ruud getting the break back immediately. Of course, he did get some help with two consecutive double faults by Nadal, and a weak backhand into the net to close the game.
Rafael Nadal* 2-0 Casper Ruud: Nadal lays down the marker, breaking Ruud in his first service game of the match. Ruud was rather defensive in that game, allowing Nadal to take control. To take it to 30-40, Ruud did hit a big forehand winner - the only great attacking intent he showed in that game. But too late, as Nadal played yet another forehand cross-court passing winner to get the break.
Rafael Nadal 1-0 Casper Ruud: Nice and easy from Nadal to settle all nerves and get on the board. Just one unforced error with a forehand long in that hold to 15.
Vinayakk Mohanarangan: Nadal, the man who has won 13 French Open titles (13-0 in finals, 111-3 overall) Ruud, the man who grew up watching those finals as a fan (‘I can tell you all his opponents’) and trained at Nadal’s academy. The narrative arcs are wonderful in this one. It is their first meeting officially, but it could actually be an interesting one if Ruud’s clay-court game can be at its best.
Players are all warmed up and ready. Nadal is happy with his bottles and the towel placement. Here we go. Nadal to serve.
Loud applause for Nadal, as the MC reads out the list of French Open titles Nadal has won. It’s a long list, and you wonder how well Ruud is blocking that out.
If Nadal wins, he’ll be only the third men’s player since 1973 to win a Grand Slam by beating four Top 10 players at the same event. Mats Wilander and Roger Federer are the only ones to have done it so far.
Nadal wins the toss and serve first.
And here they are on court. Immediately Nadal sets the water bottles the way he likes it and works to satisfy the rest of his famous tics, while Ruud waits at the net for the coin toss.
Hello and welcome to live coverage of the French Open 2022 men’s singles final between 13-time Roland Garros champion Rafael Nadal, and the first Norwegian man to make it to the final of a Grand Slam, Casper Ruud.
The Spaniard has been struggling with a recurring foot injury since a week before the French Open started. But he’s shown no signs of struggling with it nor has he slowed down as he’s stormed his way to a 14th French Open final. His first three matches were straight-forward straight-sets wins, and then he turned on the afterburners towards the end of the match against Felix Auger-Aliassime to win it in five. Against World No 1 Novak Djokovic, he was at his best. Things might have been different in the semi-final against the gritty Alexander Zverev, but for the German’s unfortunate nasty tumble. Now the 36-year-old is one win away from becoming the oldest French Open winner.
But he has to beat ‘a student’ today. Casper Ruud has been training at the Rafa Nadal Academy since September 2018 and has risen up the ranking ladder ever since. He’s a keen clay-courter with a big, big forehand. But the World No 8 has never been this far in a Grand Slam before, and he’s coming against a player who has won 21 Majors. Ruud will have to play out of his skin. It’s improbable, but not impossible.
With AFP inputs for texts through the blog
Screenshots: Sony LIV