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WORLD SPORT

Nadal completes French Open double

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Nadal is establishing himself as one of the all-time greats on clay.

PARIS, France -- Spain's Rafael Nadal recovered from a shaky opening to beat arch-rival Roger Federer and claim his second French Open title in successive years at Roland Garros on Sunday.

World number one Federer, desperate to win his first French Open title, rushed through the first set 6-1 before wilting under constant pressure from the irrepressible Nadal.

The 20-year-old quickly leveled at one set all before taking the next two sets to seal a 6-1 1-6 6-4 7-6 victory.

It was the 60th successive win on clay for Nadal and he lay spreadeagled in triumph after his victory in a shade over three hours.

"To play two finals and win two titles is just incredible," said the 20-year-old world number two Nadal. "I could have never dreamed of this.

"This second title is even more incredible than last year's."

For Federer it was a desperate disappointment with defeat ending his hopes of becoming the first man since Rod Laver in 1967 to hold all four grand slam titles.

It was also his first loss in seven grand slam finals and he paid tribute to his opponent.

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

It had all looked so promising for the Swiss as he gave the defending champion a tennis lesson in the opening set, only for Nadal to hand out the same punishment in the second set.

A single break of service was enough to give Nadal a two sets to one lead after a little over two hours and when he broke a strangely subdued Federer at the start of the fourth he looked set for a comfortable run-in.

But serving for the match at 5-4 he played a sloppy game as Federer sprang back to life and it came down to a fourth set tiebreak.

Four points in a row game Nadal a 5-2 lead before two volleyed winners saw Federer turn the screw.

Nadal was not to be denied and a strong service to Federer's backhand set up matchpoint which he duly wrapped up with a forceful winner.

He became the youngest man to win consecutive championships at Roland Garros since Bjorn Borg in 1974-75 and his reward was first prize of 940,000 euros ($1.2 million).

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