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Nadal crushes Ruud to win 14th French Open title, 22nd Grand Slam crown

Rafael Nadal has pulled away to beat Casper Ruud in the French Open final for his 14th championship at Roland Garros and 22nd Grand Slam title overall, adding to two records he already owned.

Nadal’s 6-3, 6-3, 6-0 victory came on Sunday, two days after his 36th birthday, and made him the oldest title winner in the history of the clay-court tournament.

Ruud led 3-1 in the second set, a deficit that spurred Nadal to raise his level — he took the last 11 games.

Nadal accumulated more than twice as many winners as Ruud, 37 to 16. He also committed fewer unforced errors, making just 16 to Ruud’s 26.

Ruud is a 23-year-old from Norway who was participating in a Grand Slam final for the first time. He’d never even played in a major quarterfinal until now.

He considers Nadal his idol and has trained at Nadal’s tennis academy in Mallorca, where they have played countless practice sets together.

Nadal usually won those, and Ruud joked the other day that’s because he was trying to be a polite guest. The two had never met in a real match until Sunday.

READ MORE: Nadal praises young Norwegian who was slammed as ‘boring’ by Kyrgios

Halfway through to calendar-year Grand Slam

Given his age, and the chronic pain in his left foot that has been an off-and-on problem for years, Nadal has said repeatedly in recent days that he can never be sure whether each match at Court Philippe Chatrier might be his last.

The Spaniard’s first triumph in Paris came in 2005 at age 19. No man or woman ever has won the singles trophy at any major event more than his 14 in Paris. And no man has won more Grand Slam titles than Nadal.

He is two ahead of rivals Roger Federer, who hasn’t played in almost a year after a series of knee operations, and Novak Djokovic, who missed the Australian Open in January due to Covid-19 regulations.

For all that he has accomplished already, Nadal now has done something he never managed previously: He is halfway to a calendar-year Grand Slam thanks to titles at the Australian Open and French Open in the same season.

Nadal can now place this latest Coupe des Mousquetaires alongside the trophies he gathered at Roland Garros from 2005-08, 2010-14 and 2017-20.

He’s also won the US Open four times and the Australian Open and Wimbledon twice apiece.

READ MORE: Nadal ready for Roland Garros despite injury

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