Roland Garros 2019 Review: Nadal unconquerable yet again, Barty registers 1st Grand Slam title
One of the attributes that separates champions from everybody else is their ability to know exactly when to rise. And this year’s story at Roland Garros was no different as Rafael Nadal still reigns supreme in Paris.
The Spaniard was relentless in his 6-3, 5-7, 6-1, 6-1 triumph in the final in 3 hours and 01 minute over his hugely talented challenger Dominic Thiem. In the process, he registered his record-extending, unprecedented 12th French Open title.
Nadal has now won 18 Grand Slams overall and for the first time ever is just two short of Roger Federer’s record tally of 20.
For Nadal, who appeared circumspect and vulnerable in the initial part of the clay season with his triple semi-final defeats at Monte Carlo, Barcelona and Madrid, the conclusion couldn’t have been any sweeter. Court Philippe Chatrier, the place that has seen the making of Nadal as a legend of the game, witnessed yet another chapter of his breathtaking journey, extending further his unmatched legacy on the red dirt.
For Thiem, it was yet another case of so near yet so far as the Austrian slumped to his 2nd consecutive defeat in the final at the hands of the ‘King of Clay’. The talented 25-year old might have beaten the Spaniard four times on clay before; however, it’s one thing to conquer Nadal at the Masters level events, but totally another to get better of him at the French Open.
Nonetheless, 2019 has already been a remarkable year so far for the Austrian. He won his first Masters 1000 title at Indian Wells and triumphed at the Barcelona Open prior to the French Open.
Having won Wimbledon and the US Open in 2018 and the Australian Open in 2019, Novak Djokovic’s quest towards the second ‘Nole Slam’ of his career was brought to an end when he fell short against Thiem in their thrilling five-set semifinal.
Swiss maestro Roger Federer made a strong comeback on clay this season. His progress to the semi-final of the French Open at the age of 37, having skipped the entire clay season for the past two years, was impressive.
Having dropped just one set en route, Federer reached his first semi-final since 2012 at Roland Garros. However, his journey was arrested by none other than his biggest nemesis, the now 12-time champion. Nadal got the better of the 20-time Grand Slam champion in straight sets in their sixth meeting on Parisian clay.
The other noteworthy stories on the men’s side of the draw included Stan Wawrinka’s remarkable comeback where he recorded fabulous wins over Grigor Dimitrov and Stefanos Tsitsipas on his way to the quarters. Also, Russia’s emerging star Karen Khachanov made his first ever Grand Slam quarter-final appearance when he stunned Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro in their Round of 16 clash.
On the women’s side of the draw, Australia’s Ashleigh Barty rose to prominence as she cruised past Marketa Vondrousova 6-1, 6-3 in the final to secure her first ever Grand Slam triumph.
Amanda Anisimova, the 17-year-old American who won her first WTA title at Copa Colsanitas this April, took the French Open by storm when she stunned the defending champion Simona Halep in the quarter-finals. She ultimately lost in the semis to Barty.
While we witnessed the top four in men’s tennis dominating at this year’s French Open yet again, the story on the women’s side of the draw was significantly different. The top guns Simona Halep, Sloane Stephens, Naomi Osaka, Elina Svitolina and Serena Williams were all shown the door rather earlier than expected.
Now that the clay season is over, we are all set to embrace the drama that unfolds in the upcoming season on grass in the lead up to the Championships, Wimbledon 2019.