Nadal, Barty win French Open singles
PARIS — Rafael Nadal reached another tennis milestone with a rather unsurprising 12th French Open title and was a little lucky to stay out of all scheduling and weather trouble.
The Spanish great is the first tennis player to make it a dozen singles titles at one grand slam, surpassing the 11 titles Australian Margaret Court won at the Australian Open.
Court was also mentioned at the end of an upset-filled women’s tourno because her 1973 success was the last for an Australian woman until Ash Barty lifted the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen for her first title at the majors.
These days Court has become highly controversial over her criticism of LGBTI rights and same-sex marriage in Australia.
Paris organizers meanwhile faced criticism over not scheduling the women’s semi-finals on centre court on Friday, named “inappropriate and unfair” by the women’s tour WTA, and eventual runner-up Marketa Vondrousova naming it “weird.”
There were also raised eyebrows when a men’s semi on the same day was adjourned until Saturday in the third set although it appeared that Novak Djokovic and Dominic Thiem could have played on despite gale-force winds as no more rain fell.
Tournament director Guy Forget insisted putting the women on the smaller show-courts was “not a downgrading” but “the best-possible solution according to the emergency” and that winds of up to 80kph and forecast rain
had left them with no choice on the men’s side.
It was however the last time Roland Garros has faced such problems as a centre-court roof will be installed for next year’s edition.
The scheduling problems arose from a full day of rain Wednesday which created a backlog — from which Nadal was blissfully spared.
He had already won his quarter-final against Kei Nishikori Tuesday, and on Friday also made short work of returning Roger Federer before the conditions seriously deteriorated.
Thiem by contrast played his quarterfinal against Karen Khachanov Thursday and his semi Friday and Saturday over five sets against Djokovic to meet Nadal in the decider as 12 months ago.
This time around he at least won a set but Nadal was his ruthless self by winning 6-3, 5-7, 6-1, 6-1.
“It’s a dream. To play for the first time in 2005 — never thought in 2019 I’d still be here. It’s an incredible moment and very special for me,” Nadal said.
Nadal was a top attraction as usual due to his extraordinary Roland Garros record, but fans also adored the 20-time grand slam champion Federer in his return to Paris for the first time since 2015.
Federer exceeded expectations by making the final four after beating fellow-Swiss
Stan Wawrinka who however produced the match of the tournament when he ousted rising Greek six seed Stefanos Tsitsipas 8-6 in the final set of a thriller that lasted over five hours.
“To return to the clay, it’s not like it’s been a shocker,” Federer said. “I thought it was a great tournament. I really enjoyed it. Crowd support couldn’t have been better. Maybe one of the best ever in my entire 20-year career that I have been on tour at a slam.”
While the men’s top four seeds reached the semi-finals, the wide open women’s tournament was full of withdrawals and surprise results before eight seed Barty beat the 19-year-old Vondrousova in their first ever grand slam final, 6-1, 6-3.