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PARIS - Rafael Nadal remained the undisputed claycourt king by taming Roger Federer 6-3, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 to complete a hat trick of French Open titles yesterday.
World number two Nadal displayed superior power and mental strength to overcome the world number one and become the first man since Bjorn Borg in 1980 to win three successive Roland Garros finals.
Swiss Federer, chasing the only grand slam crown to elude him, fought bravely but could not match the raw determination of the muscular Spaniard, who beat him in four sets in last year's final.
Showing signs of nerves at crucial moments and making unusual unforced errors, Federer could not stage the perfect show he would have needed and bowed out by hitting a forehand long on the first match point after three hours and 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, a day earlier women's world number one Justine Henin also completed a rare French Open hat trick by crushing Serbia's Ana Ivanovic 6-1, 6-2 in their final.
Belgian Henin totally dominated her 19-year-old opponent, seeded seventh, to become the first woman to win three successive Roland Garros titles since Monica Seles in 1992.
Ivanovic, the first player representing Serbia to feature in the final of a grand slam tournament, challenged the top seed in the first couple of games but then collapsed.
The 25-year-old Henin, who also won here at France's Roland Garros in 2003, soon took control and stayed on top until sealing victory with a forehand volley on the first match point after 65 minutes of a one-sided contest. - Reuters