Rafa Rolls to 5th French Open Title

By Tim Persinko
|  Sunday, Jun 6, 2010  |  Updated 12:42 PM CDT
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Rafa Rolls to 5th French Open Title

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Rafael Nadal slid and sprinted his way to an emotional Grand Slam victory at the French Open, defeating the man who knocked him from the tournament last year.

"Its the most emotional day in my career," Nadal said, who wept into his towel after winning the final point, the AP reported.

It was on this same red clay court one year ago that the strong-swinging Robin Soderling of Sweden handed Rafa his only French Open loss.  The upset was the start of a disappointing 2009 season for Nadal plagued by injury and weighted with family problems.

Rafa, nicknamed "the King of Clay," came roaring back with a convincing performance, never losing a set in this year's tournament.  He has been perfect on clay this season.

For Soderling, ranked No. 7 in the world going in to the tournament, the match was only his second appearance in a major final.  The powerful right-hander started the contest serving with the same thunder that had carried him through the tournament, trying to pin the athletic Nadal to the baseline.

But as the circling thunder clouds cleared and the court dried, Rafa pushed the play into longer volleys that sapped Soderling's power advantage.  Nadal was able to chase down the Swede's 143-mph serves and pushed his opponent back and forth across the court, leaving him panting.

Nadal won handily, 6-4, 6-2, and 6-4, in 2 hours and 18 minutes.

Unlike the unexpected winner of the women's tournament, there was nothing surprising about Nadal's succesful campaign.  With this win, he will climb over Federer to take the No. 1 ranking.

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