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    2008: Nadal's feat of clay

    Before, there was Borg. Then came Nadal. Thirty years on, Rafael Nadal took the former king of clay's records and decided to emulate them. Not content with winning a fourth consecutive French Open title, equalling one of the Swede's records, Nadal dropped a mere 41 games en route to the championship, just nine more than the 32 which Borg lost in 1978! Nadal showed his opponents no mercy, particularly in the final when he thrashed world No.1 Roger Federer 6-1, 6-3, 6-0.

    This was the 12th time that a Spaniard had triumphed at Roland Garros in the men's singles, pulling them clear of USA and Australia and making them the most successful country of all time at the French Open. There was also a Frenchman in the semis for the first time since Sebastien Grosjean in 2001, thanks to Gael Monfils who defeated No.5 seed David Ferrer in the quarter-final.

    The women's draw was conspicuous for one player's absence. Having won four of the previous five titles, Justine Henin suddenly called time on her career a few short weeks before she was scheduled to return to Paris. Ana Ivanovic stepped neatly into the breach, dropping just one set throughout the fortnight and defeating Russia's Dinara Safina – Marat Safin's younger sister – in the final. The win saw Ivanovic top the WTA rankings at the age of 20, and it seemed at the time that she had the world at her feet…

    Ana Ivanovic (SER) def. Dinara Safina (RUS) 6-4, 6-3

    Rafael Nadal (ESP) def. Roger Federer (SUI) 6-1, 6-3, 6-0

     

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