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On this day in sports: Rafael Nadal wins French Open for ninth time

Spain's Rafael Nadal reaches for the ball as he plays Austria's Dominic Thiem.
Rafael Nadal competes at the French Open in June 2019.
(Jean-Francois Badias / Associated Press)

In a grueling three and a half hours, Rafael Nadal of Spain won the French Open men’s title for the ninth time and the fifth in a row on this date in 2014, by beating Novak Djokovic of Serbia 3-6, 7-5, 6-2, 6-4.

Nadal’s lethal forehand found its mark in key moments throughout the hard-hitting match and lifted him into a second-place tie with Pete Sampras on the all-time Grand Slam title list behind Roger Federer, who has 17.

“He was the better player in the crucial moments,” Djokovic said of Nadal. “Of course, it’s disappointing to me, but life goes on.”

Nadal improved his record at Roland Garros in Paris to 66-1, and stretched his winning streak at the rust-red clay major to 35 straight matches.

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Here is a look at memorable games and outstanding sports performances on this date:

1935 — Omaha, with Willis Saunders up, is the third horse to win the Triple Crown when he gallops to a 1½-length victory in the rain in the Belmont Stakes over Firethron. Coming around the turn for home, Omaha trails Firethron and Rosemont, but Saunders urges the son of Gallant Fox past both horses to take the lead with a sixteenth of a mile to go.

1950 — After drubbing the St. Louis Browns 20-4 the day before, the Boston Red Sox come right back and beat them 29-4 at Fenway Park, setting six major league records in the process: most runs scored by one team; most extra-base hits in a game with 17 (nine doubles, one triple and seven home runs, two by Ted Williams) and most extra bases with 32; most total bases with 60; most runs for two games with 49; and most hits in two games with 51.

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1958 — Mickey Wright, 23, beats Fay Crocker of Uruguay by six shots to win the LPGA Championship at Churchill Valley Country Club in Blackridge, Pa., for the first of her 13 major tournament wins. Wright’s total for four rounds is eight-over-par 288. Louise Suggs, the defending champion, finishes at 18 over.

1986 — Larry Bird scores 29 points when the Boston Celtics run away to a 114-97 win over the Houston Rockets and their 16th NBA championship. In capping what perhaps is his best season, Bird wins most valuable player for the series and the regular season, and the Associated Press’ athlete of the year.

1990 — Cameroon pulls off one of the great upsets in soccer history, 1-0 over defending champion Argentina in the first game of the World Cup. The only goal of the match comes for the “Indomitable Lions” when Francois Omam-Biyik puts a header past goalkeeper Nery Pumpido.

2005 — Freshman Samantha Findlay hits a three-run home run in the 10th inning off Anjelica Selden to lead Michigan to a 4-1 win over UCLA for its first NCAA softball title at Oklahoma City. The Bruins score first on Lisa Dodd’s solo home run off Jennie Ritter in the sixth inning. The Wolverines tie it with an RBI single by Findlay in the bottom of the sixth.

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2008 — Yani Tseng, 19, of Taiwan is the first rookie in 10 years to win a major tournament, beating Maria Hjorth of Sweden in a playoff by sinking a five-foot birdie putt on No. 18 to win the LPGA Championship at the Bulle Rock Golf Course in Havre de Grace, Md. Si Re Pak won the LPGA Championship as a rookie in 1998.

2013 — Serena Williams wins her 16th Grand Slam title, and her first French Open championship since 2002, when she beats defending champion Maria Sharapova of Russia 6-4, 6-4. Williams uses defense and pinpoint power serves (three aces in the last game) to avenge a first-round loss in Paris a year earlier.

2015 — The NCAA approves multiple rule changes to men’s basketball for the 2015-16 season, including a 30-second shot clock and fewer timeouts for each team. The shot clock was last reduced, from 45 to 35 seconds, for the 1993-94 season. The NCAA’s Rules Oversight Panel says the changes are designed to improve the pace of play and create a better balance between offense and defense.

Sources: The Times, Associated Press


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