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French Open 2017: Rafael Nadal vs Stan Wawrinka

12 June 2017

In the Open era the only men who have conceded fewer games before a Grand Slam final are Guillermo Vilas, who dropped 26 in reaching the US Open final in 1977 (when matches were played over the best of three sets in the first four rounds), and Bjorn Borg, who lost 27 en route to the 1978 final here. Selecting a victor might seem straightforward, given Andy Murray stretched Wawrinka's total court time for the tournament by four hours and 34 minutes to 15 hours and 20 minutes in a courageous but doomed semi-final over five sets on Friday.

As he has done throughout the tournament, Nadal only improved as the match wore on, surrendering just a single game in the final set.

Wawrinka is no slouch; he owns three major titles, including one from Roland Garros, and had never lost a Grand Slam final.

Nadal would match his own achievement of a ideal title in 2008 and 2010 if he were to produce another straight-sets triumph against Stan Wawrinka in Monday's (AEST) final. Facing Nadal has made many players want to go insane.

If he does so next year, his 11 titles would match what Margaret Court accomplished at the Australian Open in the 1960s and 70s.

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"He's playing the best he's ever played".

"It's true that when he hits hard, he hits really hard", Nadal said. Thereafter it was all one-way as Nadal won five straight games and set 6-2. "He's playing aggressively and he's defending well". They did let out a burst of claps and roars in the second set on one particularly exquisite display: Nadal sprinted to his left to chase Wawrinka's cross-court backhand wide of the doubles alley and whipped a forehand that curved around the net post and landed near a line for a victor.

"I'm a little emotional", Nadal said before getting to clamp his jaws on La Coupe des Mousquetaires.

His career record at Roland Garros reads 78 wins and just two losses.

Nadal broke Argentinian Guillermo Vilas's 29-year record of 53 consecutive clay-court match victories by winning his first-round match at the French Open.

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With the 2017 French Open now over, check out the performance tennis styles that today's top tennis pros wear on the court. Thiem's hopes of becoming just the second Austrian - after 1995 French Open victor Thomas Muster - to reach a Slam final subsided with a whimper as Nadal raced to victory in just over two hours.

The titles still matter, though, and Nadal is desperate to move on to 15 majors and to within three of the absent Roger Federer. I come back and see people I have a good relationship with and it's very special.

Rafael Nadal, a 14-time time Grand Slam champion, fell short of his final hurdle during the 2017 Australian Open at the start of the year.

It was a steamy day in Paris - temperatures hovered around 30 degrees Celsius - a boost to Nadal's heavily spun forehand that can trouble players with one-handed backhands.

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French Open 2017: Rafael Nadal vs Stan Wawrinka