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Lucky 13 for Remarkable Rafa

Following an extended break after lockdown, three-time defending French Open champion Rafael Nadal returned for the third major of the amended 2020 tour. Ladies' 2019 winner Ashleigh Barty did not compete in this year's Roland Garros, having opted to not defend her title due to pandemic-related concerns.

Aside from Nadal, a handful of other big names also returned to the court ahead of the French major.

After capturing her 2nd US Open crown last month, Naomi Osaka surged to #3 in the WTA rankings while runner-up Victoria Azarenka rose to 14th. Osaka did not participate in this year's French Open due to a hamstring injury; Azarenka bowed out of the tournament as early as the second round.

23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams, 39, withdrew prior to her second round match, citing an Achilles injury.

Other notable absentees from the latest rendition of Roland Garros included 2019 US Open winner Bianca Andreescu, as well as world no. 10 Belinda Bencic.

Iga Świątek, 19, of Poland secured impressive victories over Eugenie Bouchard and top seed Simona Halep on her way to booking a spot in this year's final in Paris. Unseeded Świątek did not drop a single set on her way to a maiden major final.

Meeting her on Court Philippe-Chatrier on Saturday was 21-year-old, reigning Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin. The Russian-born American disposed of compatriot Danielle Collins in the quarters, and then overcame two-time Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitová in the semi-finals to set up an extremely youthful Ladies' final.

Świątek made light work of her opposite number, winning 6-4, 6-1 in just under 90 minutes to lift the Suzanne Lenglen trophy. Świątek effectively became the first-ever Polish singles champion at a Grand Slam, as well as the youngest women's champion at Roland Garros since 1992; she also became just the second unseeded RG champion in the Open Era (1968 - present).

On the Men's side, 20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer, 39, was the only significant omission as he continues his recovery from knee surgery.

Kevin Anderson lost in the third round, while fellow South African Lloyd Harris crashed out one round prior.

Gaining plenty of new followers was Jannik Sinner, 19, who overcame sixth seed and US Open finalist Alex Zverev in the fourth round, winning 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3.

Sinner lost out to Nadal in the quarterfinals, however fans are most certainly looking forward to seeing more of the young Italian in the future.

Another quarterfinal performance which drew much attention was the bout between Diego Schwartzman and Dominic Thiem. The five-set thriller was a nail-biting affair which ended in favour of Schwartzman, as the Argentine claimed a 7-6, 5-7, 6-7, 7-6, 6-2 win over the reigning US Open champion.

Upon reaching his first Grand Slam semi, Schwartzman showed tremendous fight but he was no match for Nadal, who won 6-3, 6-3, 7-6. Nadal dropped zero sets on his way to a record 13th French Open final.

The other semi-final saw a thrilling encounter between Stefanos Tsitsipas, 22, and Serbia's crowned jewel Novak Djokovic. The 17-time major champion was on the verge of steamrolling the lanky Tsitsipas, but the heavy-hitting Greek star was not prepared to go down without a fight and pulled back two sets which took the match to a fifth and final set. Djokovic, 33, then put his foot on the gas to reach a fifth final at Roland Garros, winning 6-3, 6-2, 5-7, 4-6, 6-1.

The top two seeds contested their third final at RG and their ninth across all major tournaments; heading into the match, both competitors had won four finals apiece.

Even at 34 years old, Nadal‘s athleticism and court coverage was second to none. The king of clay put on a relentless performance and completely trampled the world no.1 – taking the match 6-0, 6-2, 7-5.

In doing so, Nadal claimed his 100th victory at Roland Garros, 26 more than next-highest Djokovic.

Nadal‘s 13th RG crown since 2005 sees him equal Federer's record tally of 20 Grand Slam titles.

Nadal and Świątek each bagged €1,6M, almost 33% less than the 2019 winners’ prize of €2,3M.

The tournament's total winnings purse was €38M, compared to €42,6M last year.

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