Rafael Nadal coped with an on-court intruder and the Paris rain to beat fellow Spaniard David Ferrer and win a record eighth French Open title. Nadal, 27, came through 6-3 6-2 6-3 to reaffirm his dominance on clay, and further elevate himself among the greats of the sport.
"I'm very happy, very emotional," he said. "It's a very important victory for me."
However, the final was interrupted by a brief protest high in the stands during the second set that was quickly followed by an intruder leaping onto the court while brandishing a flare.
Security guards managed to bundle the man to the ground as he approached Nadal, and the player even took care to shake an official's hand before returning to the action.
"Just can I say thank you very much to all the security guys," he said afterwards. "They did just amazing work.
"They were very quick, and they were very courageous about what they did in the first moment."
Nadal dropped his serve immediately after the incident, but within an hour he had wrapped up the victory that makes him the first man to win a Grand Slam singles tournament eight times.
His 59th match win also takes him past Roger Federer and Guillermo Vilas at Roland Garros, while his 12th major title moves him above Bjorn Borg and Rod Laver on the all-time list. Ferrer, playing in his first major final at the age of 31, was a worthy adversary and pushed his compatriot harder than the score might suggest, but he never threatened an upset.
Both men appeared edgy in the early stages, with breaks of serve exchanged in games three and four, but Nadal fired a brilliant cross-court backhand winner to move ahead again at 4-3 and took the set with a third break. Ferrer was making his illustrious compatriot work for his service games and missed an early chance in the second set, before Nadal made him pay with a forehand winner for 2-0.
A routine afternoon looked on the cards, but the calm was shattered by chanting from protesters with a banner in the upper tier of the stands during the sixth game of the set. The players paused while the incident was dealt with only for another, potentially more serious, disturbance to follow before the next game when a shirtless man wearing a mask vaulted the flower bed surrounding the court, waving a burning flare above his head.
When play resumed, two unsurprisingly distracted service games followed, but Nadal moved two sets clear and looked razor sharp again when a volley put him 2-0 ahead in the third.
The increasingly heavy rain now appeared the biggest threat to his ambitions, but Ferrer was not done and got back on level terms before blowing an opportunity to move ahead with a backhand error at 3-3. It was to be Ferrer's last chance as a double-fault gave up his serve for the seventh time.
Nadal moved to match point and cracked a magnificent forehand winner before falling back onto the clay in celebration for an incredible eighth time at Roland Garros.
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