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Rafael Nadal wins the French Open for a record eighth time

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Rafael Nadal — Getty Images

Rafael Nadal is now in a class of his own in tennis history after winning his eighth French Open title on Sunday at Roland Garros, becoming the only man in tennis history to win the same Grand Slam eight times.

Nadal took out fellow Spaniard David Ferrer 6-3, 6-2, 6-3 in what can only be considered a victory lap of sorts for the now 12-time Grand Slam champion.

Face it, the French Open finals was an epic five-set match that pitted the top two tennis players in the world against each other in Nadal and Novak Djokovic, the one problem being that the winner still had one more ceremonial match to play before he could accept the trophy.

This was it, and it was everything that you'd expect from a man that has made his living beating professionals on clay. Nadal is now an astonishing 59-1 at the French Open, winning eight of the last nine championships in Paris and doing it in a style that says he isn't going anywhere soon.

Ferrer was a formidable opponent in the sense that games lasted longer than one might expect, but it was just too much power from Nadal on this surface for a man that was making his first appearance in a Grand Slam final. Nadal hit 35 winners to his 25 unforced errors, a stat almost mirrored by Ferrer who had 22 winners to his 35 unforced.

Nadal is now third all time in Grand Slam wins, tying Roy Emerson and sitting just two behind Pete Sampras and five behind the great Roger Federer. His play at this event has been incredible over the years, but his return to the tennis scene this season has been a surprise even to experts who have watched him play over the years.

Injuries kept him out of the 2012 U.S. Open and this year's Australian Open, and some where worried he'd never come back full strength. He did, and his eighth French title is a pretty good reward for a return for one of the greatest tennis players in the history of the game.

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