• France's news in English
 

Nadal defies protest to win eighth French Open

Published: 09 Jun 2013 18:40 GMT+02:00

Nadal claimed his 12th major with a 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 win over his Spanish compatriot who was playing in his first Grand Slam final at the age of 31 and at the 42nd time of asking.

It also gave Nadal his 59th win out of 60 matches played in Paris.

However, the 27-year-old's push to victory suffered a heart-stopping moment when a protestor, naked from the waist up, leapt from the stands on Court Philippe Chatrier, carrying a flare and protesting France's controversial same sex marriage law.

The protestor, who was wrestled away by security staff, came within just a few feet of the Spaniard as he prepared to serve at 5-1 in the second set.

A burly security official immediately came to Nadal's aid in front of the VIP box where Olympic sprint champion Usain Bolt and Hollywood superstar Leonardo DiCaprio were watching.

The drama, however, didn't alter the outcome as Nadal claimed his seventh title of 2013 after returning to the tour in February following a seven-month injury lay-off.

"Thanks to everyone in my family and team. Without their support, especially when I was out of action, this would have been impossible," said Nadal.

"Thanks also to everyone who sent me messages on Twitter and Facebook. They all gave me positive energy for today."

Ferrer vowed to keep fighting to break the Grand Slam stranglehold of Nadal, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray.

"I enjoyed the two weeks here. I congratulate Rafa, he's the best," said Ferrer.

"But I will try my best to have another chance to play in a final and win a Grand Slam. This tournament is very special to me."

Ferrer had raced through the first game to love, but it was the champion who broke first for 2-1 when his compatriot unleashed a wild forehand.

Ferrer, showing all the attributes which gave the nickname of 'bloodhound', was level in the next game at 2-2 and with both sluggers evenly matched, it was going to take something out of the top drawer to settle the opening set.

Nadal produced it right on cue, flashing a superbly controlled, sliding backhand on the move, from 10 metres behind the baseline, past the advancing Ferrer.

Nadal backed it up in the ninth game when a double fault from Ferrer handed him a set point which translated into the a first-set advantage when the veteran dumped a weak backhand into the net.

Ferrer hadn't dropped a set in the tournament and had spent six hours fewer on court getting to his maiden final.

But he was in serious trouble and he knew it, suddenly confronted by Nadal's record of 145 wins against just three losses when he had won the first set of a Grand Slam match.

Their personal history was also stacked against him with just four wins against 19 defeats coming into Sunday's final.

Sixteen of those losses were on clay and Ferrer's only victory on the surface was way back in 2004 in the pair's first meeting when Nadal was still a raw 16-year-old.

In no time at all, and with light drizzle falling, the champion was 3-0 ahead in the second set as a love-service game backed up a break which had been secured with a pair of sharp forehands.

Ferrer halted Nadal's six-game streak for 3-1 but was unable to convert four break points of his own in the fifth game, a marathon duel which included a 29-shot rally.

Nadal was 5-1 up and preparing to serve for the second set when a spectator, naked from the waist up, leapt from the stands carrying a flare just feet from where Nadal was standing.

The intruder, with the words 'Childrens rights' written across his chest, was wrestled away from the court.

The final had already been held up by protesters high up in the stands holding up placards demonstrating against France's same sex marriage law.

Nadal was broken but it made little difference to the outcome.

He hit back for 5-3 on Ferrer's fifth double fault and wrote his name into history when he unleashed another crosscourt winner.

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Three dead after French Alps avalanche
A group of tourists has been swept away by an avalanche in the French Alps. File Photo: AFP

Three dead after French Alps avalanche

UPDATED: Three people were killed and several were injured in a massive avalanche that hit the French Alps on Wednesday afternoon. READ  

French schools scandal
Scandal of paedophile teachers shocks France
Photo: AFP

Scandal of paedophile teachers shocks France

France’s education minister promised a thorough investigation on Wednesday into "systematic failures” after it emerged that numerous teachers were employed to work in schools despite having previous convictions for paedophilia. READ  

Smoking in Paris
Paris gets tough on café terrace smokers

Paris gets tough on café terrace smokers

As Parisians continue to ignore laws that ban smoking inside closed off cafe terraces, the Town Hall has sent a reminder to police that they shouldn't hesitate to crack down on both the smokers and the cafe owners not abiding by the rules. READ  

Young French women turn to 'le binge drinking'
Binge drinking is becoming all the more common in France. Photo: Shutterstock

Young French women turn to 'le binge drinking'

More and more young French people are turning to binge-drinking, especially teenage girls, as the Anglo Saxon habit continues to be adopted by the youth of France. The country's health minister has vowed to tackle the issue. READ  

Drone porn!? The best April Fools from France
The departure board in Lille. Photo: SylvieBRawlings/Twitter

Drone porn!? The best April Fools from France

France joined in on the fun of April Fools' on Wednesday, with everything from news about giraffe yoghurt to train journeys to Sydney from northern France. Here's a selection of our favourites from France and the rest of The Local Europe. READ  

France set to keep ban on gay men giving blood
Photo: Donate.

France set to keep ban on gay men giving blood

France's national ethics committee has recommended that the country upholds the lifetime ban on gay men donating blood, stating that more research is needed before any changes are made to the law. Gay rights groups have reacted furiously. READ  

Alps plane crash video 'must' be given to police
A video has reportedly emerged showing the final moments of the doomed Germanwings flight. Archive Photo: AFP

Alps plane crash video 'must' be given to police

Prosecutors investigating the crash of a Germanwings plane in the French Alps have demanded that a video purportedly showing the final moments of the flight inside the cabin must be handed over to investigators. READ  

No charges for Sarkozy in campaign finance case
Nicolas Sarkozy seen here alongside Jean-Francois Copé who is also implicated in the campaign funding scandal. Photo: AFP

No charges for Sarkozy in campaign finance case

French judges decided on Wednesday not to charge Nicolas Sarkozy over a campaign finance scandal but placed the former president under a special status that leaves the door open for further questioning. READ  

Two babies die in France after vaccinations
Concern in France over vaccinations for gastroenteritis. Photo: AFP

Two babies die in France after vaccinations

Health authorities in France are reviewing whether a common vaccine to prevent stomach illnesses should be given to babies, after it emerged this week that two newborns died following the inoculations. READ  

April Fools!
Paris bistros crack down on loud-mouthed tourists
One of the new campaign posters in a cafe in the 10th arrondissement.

Paris bistros crack down on loud-mouthed tourists

Numerous cafes and bistros across the City of Light have signed up to a provocative campaign aimed at cracking down on loud-mouthed foreign tourists, claiming they're ruining "the sophistication of the Paris dining experience". READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
France's 'winter truce' has been called off, but what exactly is it?
National
April Fool's: Trains to Sydney, drone porn, noisy tourist bans...
National
What's on in France: Ten things to do in April
National
Paris bistros crack down on loud tourists. Surely it's an April Fools
National
The key reforms of France's healthcare bill
National
Here's the place to get the best baguettes in Paris
More French pensioners head abroad to settle
Is it possible to make the most of fine food in Paris on a student budget?
Travel
Everything (well 12 things) you didn't know about the Eiffel Tower
Who were the winners and losers in France's local elections?
Can the 'nightmare' of a pilot downing a plane be prevented?
National
Paris: France mulls lifting ban on casinos
Does low cost mean low safety? Questions after Germanwings crash
Gallery
IN PICTURES: A timeline of the Alps plane crash
National
Where in La Belle France do British expats avoid?
National
IN PICTURES: 'Tide of the century' draws tens of thousands
National
Paris ends smog-fighting restrictions as the air finally clears
National
The main mistakes made by French property buyers
National
International French Language day: But what does the future hold?
National
IN PICTURES: What went on behind the clouds during Friday's eclipse
National
French food porn: What is the Gallic grub that goes viral the most?
Culture
France treated to rare Northern Lights show
Politics
Shady candidates undermine French far-right's election bid once again
Politics
French minister takes a swipe at overuse of Franglais in workplace
French gastronomy set for global charm offensive
French newspaper stuns readers with porn film pics on front page
Sport
The reasons why Zlatan Ibrahimovic might really think France is s**t
National
France could soon ban skinny models from catwalks
Health
Is France's much-envied health care system under threat?
National
There are jobs in France where you don't need to speak French
National
New plan to improve life in rural France drawn up
Education
Paris universities on the up in new rankings
Sport
We meet one of the most entertaining footballers in France
National
New plan to improve life in rural France drawn up
Features
Forget Paris. Is Bordeaux the best place to live in France?
Travel
Runaway plane mows down skier on the slopes of French Alps
Society
Friday 13th: A look at France's superstitions
Culture
France is ready to end its stubborn resistance to the English language
Features
'Hedgehog' and other words that French people simply can't say
Society
The worst 'nightmares' of living in France (written by a Frenchman)
Health
French hospitals crisis: 'It's like the UK under Margaret Thatcher'
Sponsored Article
Expert US tax preparation for Americans in France
VIDEO: Footage emerges of the moment two helicopters collided
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Helicopter crash kills 10, including French sports stars
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se