By Chad Hoyle
No surprises to see here, folks- Unless you count some on-court chicanery in the form of spectator political protests.
Fulfilling everyone's expectations, the favorites in the Men's and Women's Singles Champoinships annihilated their competition in dominant fashion.
On Saturday, Court Philippe Chatriere was the site of the Women's final between defending champion Maria Sharapova and the stalwart Serena Williams. The draw was uneven from the moment the women took the court, and chasm between their playing styles was evident from the first serve on.
Although defending her 2012 title, Sharapova was clearly the challenger against Williams, proven by altering her style of play to match Serena's aggressive tendencies. Sharapova spent much of the match forcing stronger serves than used to, and although she was able save four break points in the first set, she was quickly overpowered by the formidable American. "She serves harder than David Ferrer" said Sharapova in reference to Williams, comparing her strength to the Men's Singles finalist.
Serena, en route to her first French Open win in 11 years and 16th Slam title, routed Sharapova in straight sets 6-4, 6-4, sealing it with her fastest ace of the match clocked at 123mph. With the victory, Williams proved that even at 31 and recent health woes aside, she's arguably the best women's singles player in history.
The focus on Sunday was an all-Spanish Men's final between the resurgent Rafael Nadal and the "I'm just happy to be in a major final" David Ferrer. Nadal looked spry on the court, despite coming off a 4.5 hour instant classic against Djokovic 2 days prior and exceeding Ferrer's total tournament play time by nearly 6 hours. Though at times it seemed like Ferrer was making a push, his efforts were quickly quelled by the seemingly-invincible Nadal.
Nadal worked quickly and efficiently, despite the political protests late in the second set. Initially started by a group of protesters in the upper sections of the stadium, the situation escalated quickly when a shirtless man in an opera mask carrying a road flare hopped onto the clay and seemed to make his way toward Nadal. Fearing an outcome similar to the Monica Seles stabbing by a crazed fan in 1993, security quickly apprehended the man in the locker room tunnel and doused the flames before play could proceed.
Unfazed, Nadal went on to win the second set and rolled through the third, besting Ferrer 6-3, 6-2, 6-3. The victory marks Nadal's 8th at Roland Garros, making him the only man in history to do so, and cementing his place as the "King of Clay".
However, in a twist of mathematical fate, winning the title dropped Nadal behind Ferrer in the world rankings, with Ferrer at 4 and Nadal at 5. Since Rafa was out with knee issues for 7 months leading up to this event, his only counted ranking points were a carryover from last year's French Open, while Ferrer gained points by reaching his first Grand Slam Final.
In just 2 weeks, we will see if Nadal and Williams can continue their return to form on the grass courts of Wimbledon.
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