Rafael Nadal - Roland Garros 2022

Rafael Nadal’s 5 greatest Roland-Garros finals

Rafael Nadal has dominated Roland-Garros throughout his career, winning a record 14 titles at the Paris major. 

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Rafael Nadal vs Mariano Puerta (2005)

There is nothing more memorable for players than their first Grand Slam title, however most don’t go onto win an additional 21.

In his maiden Roland-Garros appearance, Nadal reached his first major final at only 19-years-old as the fourth seed.

The Spaniard would play the unseeded Mariano Puerta in the final, who Nadal had beaten in their two previous ATP meetings on clay.

And Nadal did it again, fighting back after losing the first set to beat the Argentine in four sets and claim his maiden Roland Garros title.

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Rafael Nadal vs Roger Federer (2008)

Nadal retained the Roland-Garros title in both 2006 and 2007, beating Roger Federer in both finals, however his most impressive defence came a year later.

In 2008, the Mallorcan dropped only 37 games en route to his fourth Roland Garros final, where he would play top seed Federer once again.

Federer was the reigning Wimbledon and US Open champion at the time, and had taken a set off Nadal in the previous two Roland-Garros finals against the Spaniard.

This time was much more straightforward for Nadal, as he destroyed Federer in a 6-1 6-3 6-0 victory, becoming the first person to bagel the Swiss since Byron Black in 1999.

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Rafael Nadal vs Robin Soderling (2010)

Nadal’s dominant reign at Roland-Garros came to an end at the hands of Robin Soderling in 2009, who delivered a shock first defeat to the Spaniard in the fourth round of the tournament.

Soderling was eventually beaten in the final by the aforementioned Federer, but the Swede returned to the final a year with Nadal as his opponent.

And Nadal enacted revenge over Soderling, beating the fifth seed in straight sets to win his fifth Roland-Garros title.

This was the second time that Nadal had won the Roland-Garros title without dropping a set, and as a result he began his second reign as world No.1.

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Rafael Nadal vs Novak Djokovic (2012)

In 2012, Nadal was aiming to become the first man to win seven Roland-Garros titles, looking to surpasa Bjorn Borg and equal all-time record holder Chris Evert.

However, in the final Nadal would face rival Novak Djokovic, who was in his first ever Roland-Garros final after beating Federer in the semi-finals.

Djokovic had won the last three consecutive Grand Slam titles, and was looking to become the first man since Rod Laver to hold all four at the same time (something he later achieved in 2016).

Nadal had won every set at the tournament so far, and continued this record after claiming the opening two sets against Djokovic in the final.

Despite this, Djokovic hit back and won eight games in a row to claim the third set and go up a break in the fourth.

It was at this point that rain affected play and delayed the finish of the final to Monday afternoon, with Nadal regrouping to win a record seventh Roland-Garros title.

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Rafael Nadal vs Stan Wawrinka (2017)

After an uncharacteristic three-year drought without a Grand Slam title, Nadal returned to the Roland-Garros final in 2017.

And Nadal was in much more dominant form than in 2015 and 2016, cruising to the final without dropping a set.

In the final, Nadal would play 2015 Roland-Garros winner Stan Wawrinka, who had beaten the Spaniard in their only previous meeting in a Grand Slam final (Australian Open 2014).

However, this was a much more one-sided affair in Nadal’s favour, as he beat the Swiss 6-2 6-3 6-1.

This victory was labelled ‘La Decima’, with Nadal winning his tenth title at Roland-Garros, the Monte Carlo Masters and the Barcelona Open all in this year.

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Matthew Johns, Tennishead Writer, is a professional tennis journalist with a specialist degree in Sports Journalism. He's a keen tennis player having represented his local club and University plus he's also a qualified tennis coach. Matthew has a deep knowledge of tennis especially the ATP Tour and thrives on breaking big tennis news stories for Tennishead.