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PARIS (AP) — Rafael Nadal's final shot at the French Open was a typically ferocious fallaway forehand, and when it landed for a winner, his momentum and emotions sent him splaying backward onto the clay he loves.
The champion quickly bounded to his feet and headed for the net at a trot. It was time to collect his latest Roland Garros trophy.
Nadal became the first man to win eight titles at the same Grand Slam tournament when he beat fellow Spaniard David Ferrer in Sunday's final, 6-3, 6-2, 6-3. The King of Clay broke the men's record for match wins at Roland Garros, where he improved to 59-1, with his lone defeat against Robin Soderling in the fourth round in 2009.
For fans enthralled by Nadal's semifinal victory over top-ranked Novak Djokovic, Sunday's final may have seemed anticlimactic. But not for Nadal.
His path to the Roland Garros title was more arduous than usual. He fell behind in each of his first three matches and needed a fifth-set comeback to beat Djokovic.
And the latest title was especially sweet for the Mallorcan because of his comeback after a seven-month layoff caused by knee trouble. Since returning in February, he's 43-2 with seven titles in nine tournaments, and he has won his past 22 matches.
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