Federer falls again to feared opponent Nadal

It was the fourth defeat for Federer against Nadal this year Keystone

Switzerland's Roger Federer stumbled at the French Open tennis final in Paris on Sunday, losing to the player who has become his jinx, Rafael Nadal of Spain.

This content was published on June 11, 2006 - 19:21

Nadal beat the world's number one at the Roland Garros stadium in four sets: 1-6, 6-1, 6-4 and 7-6.

The defeat for Federer was a harsh blow to his hopes of holding all four Grand Slam titles at the same time.

The Swiss is the current titleholder of Wimbledon as well as the United States and Australian opens but he has never achieved victory in the French tournament, which is played on clay.

At 20, Nadal earned his second successive Roland Garros title and extended his record clay-court winning streak to 60 matches in a row.

"Roger played much better at the beginning, then I was much better in the second. After this the match was much more balanced" Nadal said.

"It's incredible. I think I prefer this year's title," added Nadal who beat the Argentine player Mariano Puerta in last year's final.

Lovely clay

Nadal took victory with a swinging volley for a winner, then collapsed on his back and rolled over, covered in the clay he loves.

"He's a fighter and he's a grinder, and he deserves to win here," Federer said.

Federer's first loss in eight Grand Slam finals came at the hands of nemesis Nadal, who also won when they met at Roland Garros last year in the semifinals.

Federer's record fell to 0-4 against Nadal this year. He's 44-0 against everyone else.

French fans were mostly in Federer's corner, chanting "Ro-ger! Ro-ger!" during changeovers. But the crowd support failed to faze Nadal, who won the first meeting of the two top-seeds in a Roland Garros final since 1984.

With his unsurpassed retrieving skills, the Spaniard kept running down balls in both corners to extend points. And the left-hander kept pulling his heavy, high-kicking forehand crosscourt to break down Federer's backhand.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

Roger Federer has led the ATP ranking since February 2, 2004.
He has 37 tournament victories, including seven Grand Slam titles.
Federer won the Australian Open in 2004 and 2006, Wimbledon in 2003, 2004 and 2005, and the US Open in 2004 and 2005. He's also won two Masters.
But the world number one has never managed to win the title at Roland Garros. Before Sunday, his best result was reaching the semi-finals last year.

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