r off a pass from Loui

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PARIS -- Trying to beat Rafael Nadal at the French Open is, without a doubt, the toughest task in tennis. Indeed, must be among the greatest challenges in all of sports. The pressure he applies, from set to set, game to game, point to point, shot to shot. That bullwhip of a high-bouncing, topspin lefty forehand. Those quick-reflex returns that help him break an opponents serve -- and his will. Doing what he does so well on the red clay of Roland Garros, a surface and site he dominates so completely, the No. 1-seeded Nadal wore down No. 2 Novak Djokovic 3-6, 7-5, 6-2, 6-4 in a muggy final Sunday to win his ninth French Open championship and fifth in a row, both records. For me, Nadal said, playing here in Roland Garros is just unforgettable, forever. It is also his 14th Grand Slam title overall, tying the 28-year-old Spaniard with Pete Sampras for the second most by a man, behind only Roger Federers 17. That includes Nadals two trophies apiece at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, along with one from the Australian Open, proving he can beat the best on grass and hard courts, too. But its on the clay of Paris where Nadal reigns supreme: He has won 66 of 67 career French Open matches. Since the only loss, against Robin Soderling in the fourth round in 2009, Nadal has won 35 consecutive matches at Roland Garros. No other man has won more than seven titles at any of tennis four majors. Its not impossible, but its very, very difficult to stay with Rafa in this court, throughout the whole match, on the highest level of performance, said Djokovic, who was broken in the final game of each set, including with an anticlimactic double-fault on match point. Nadal ensured that he, not Djokovic, will be ranked No. 1 on Monday. In the process, Nadal once again prevented six-time major champion Djokovic from completing a career Grand Slam. He deserves to win this tournament, Nadal said. I am sure he will do it in the future. Djokovic had won their four most recent matches, including on clay in the best-of-three-set final at Rome last month. Beating Nadal in best-of-five is a whole other matter. Nadal also topped Djokovic in the 2012 final, and the 2013 semifinals. In all, Nadal leads Djokovic 6-0 at the French Open, 9-3 at major tournaments, and 23-19 in total. No other pair of men has played each other as often. The defeat in Rome was one of three this season on clay for Nadal, raising questions about whether hed be unbeatable at Roland Garros this time. There also was the matter of his troublesome back, which flared up during a loss to Stan Wawrinka in the Australian Open final and slowed his serve at times during the French Open. For 3 1/2 hours Sunday, when the sky was crystal clear and the temperature touched 80 degrees (27 Celsius), Djokovic gave everything he had, even spitting up on court. I played at the maximum of my power, my strength, and my capability, Djokovic said, but Rafa was the best player. Using his backhand to great effect against Nadals forehand early, Djokovic grabbed the first set, and got to 5-all in the second. I felt, Nadal said, the match was more in his hands at the beginning. Knowing that overcoming a two-set hole might be too much even for him, Nadal raised his level, taking 20 of 26 points to claim that set and a 3-0 lead in the third. Without that second set, I dont know if I have this trophy with me now, Nadal would say later. When a down-the-line forehand winner ended the second set, Nadal leaped and shook both fists, his first sign of real emotion. The momentum went (to) his side, Djokovic said. I started playing quite bad and didnt move as well. Struggled a little bit physically throughout that third set. That was apparent. His cheeks were flushed. He put his hand on his heaving chest. He wobbled and nearly fell over while sitting on his changeover bench. Still, after trailing 4-2 in the fourth, Djokovic made one last stand. As skilled a retriever as his formidable foe -- Djokovic won 10 of the first 15 points that lasted at least 10 strokes -- he came up with a desperation defensive lob that landed right near the baseline, drawing a netted overhead from Nadal to earn a break point. Soon, it was 4-all. But Nadal steadied himself to hold to 5-4, then broke one last time. Soon enough, he was clutching the French Open trophy, his trophy. china jerseys . Basketball fans around the globe will be watching as Kobe Bryant makes his season debut - 240 days after tearing his left Achilles - against Toronto, a team he has used as his own personal punching bag. cheap china jerseys . He looked very comfortable Wednesday night. Konerko had a big three-run double and Gordon Beckham homered for the second straight game, leading the Chicago White Sox to an 8-3 victory over the sliding Chicago Cubs. https://www.chinajerseysreplica.us/. -- Theres nothing like winning to bring hope for a struggling team. replica jerseys china . Cavaliers shooting guard Craig Ehlo makes a solid play on the ball, but still Jordan hits the amazing shot. cheap jerseys from china . The Canadian tennis players first full season on the WTA Tour was a strong one. She has risen to No. 32 in the world rankings and will likely be seeded at the first Grand Slam event of the 2014 season.BOSTON - Stuck in a four-game losing streak, the Columbus Blue Jackets rested their All-Star goalie and let backup Curtis McElhinney have another shot at the Boston Bruins.McElhinney answered with 34 saves as Columbus ended its own skid and stopped Bostons five-game winning streak with a 3-1 victory over the Bruins on Saturday night.It feels good. Obviously, you want to be the catalyst that comes in and responds to a situation and I felt like I gave the guys an opportunity to win tonight, said McElhinney, who was also in net for the Blue Jackets in a 6-2 rout of the Bruins on Dec. 27 in Columbus.Boston hadnt lost a game in regulation since, going 9-0-3 and winning five straight until stalling Saturday night at home.Matt Calvert scored the go-ahead goal with 3:03 left in the third and added an empty-netter in the final minute as Columbus responded from a 2-1 loss at the New York Rangers the night before by finishing strong in Boston.It was nice to see them get that second one there to put us ahead and, obviously, the third gave us the distance, said McElhinney, who got the start as Sergei Bobrovsky rested in the second night of the back-to-back games.Ryan Johansen had a goal and an assist for the Blue Jackets, extending his point streak to 13 straight games, and Calvert battled through a stomach bug while ending an eight-game stretch without a goal.Despite the illness and a shot to the head in the second period, Columbus coach Todd Richards said Calvert never stopped hustling.Thats what you want to see from the guys that are working, Richards said.McElhinney didnt allow anything past him after Carl Soderbergs goal 11:34 into the first period tied the game at 1.The tie stood as McElhinney and Boston goalie Tuukka Rask exchanged saves through the second and third periods until Calvert broke the stalemate by backhanding in a rebound off a slap shot by Brandon Dubinsky. Dubinsky got the Bruins to bite on aa fake and had a full windup for a shot that got through Rasks pads and hovered just outside the goal line before Calvert got his stick on it.ddddddddddddBoston pulled Rask for the extra skater and Calvert capitalized with a shot from just inside the centre line with 38 seconds remaining.Rask, who finished with 28 saves, was still fuming over Calverts first goal and stormed straight to the tunnel after the final buzzer. Boston had allowed just six goals during the five-game streak.It was night and day from the past whatever games we played well, Rask said. We started a little slow and then we gained our game in the first period. Then, the second and third we were just back to the old habits.Johansen gave Columbus a 1-0 lead on a power-play goal 7:57 into the first period, extending his franchise-record points streak to 13 straight games.Soderberg tied it 11:34 into the first on a one-timer off a pass from Loui Eriksson.McElhinney buckled down from there and also survived taking a direct hit to the head on a slap shot by Zdeno Chara.It felt good because it didnt go in, McElhinney said. Thats always a start with his shot. Big guy, big shot.NOTES: The Bruins issued a statement from club president Cam Neely on the death of longtime radio broadcaster Bob Williams, who died Thursday at age 85. For a generation of New England hockey fans, Bobs legendary voice was synonymous with the Bruins and he will always be a part of our clubs history, Neely said. ... Boston LW Brad Marchand served the first of a two-game suspension for slew-footing Derick Brassard of the New York Rangers on Thursday. ... Johansens goal in the first period was his 17th of the season. Jack Johnson and Scott Hartnell both picked up assists — also the 17th for both. ... Boston was trying for its first six-game winning streak of the season. ... McElhinney started for All-Star Sergei Bobvrosky, who lost his last four starts. ' ' '

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