|Serbia's Novak Djokovic and Spain's Rafael Nadal pose for photos after their men's final match at the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France, on June 8, 2014. Nadal won 3-1. (Xinhua/Chen Xiaowei)
PARIS, June 8 (Xinhua) -- Top ranked Rafael Nadal continued his stranglehold on French Open as he beat Novak Djokovic 3-6, 7-5, 6-2, 6-4 on Sunday to win his ninth French Open title and a record fifth in succession.
The 28-year-old Spaniard performed better to win the final in three hours and 31 minutes, taking his Grand Slam total to 14, as many as Pete Sampras'.
Second seed Djokovic, who now lost to Nadal three times in a row in French Open, started strongly but ended his campaign with a double fault on match point.
"I wasn't playing at the level that I wanted, especially in the second part of the match," said the Serb. "These kind of big matches obviously take the best out of players. And of course it's a huge challenge. I tried to do my best. My best wasn't as the best against him in Rome a couple weeks ago."
Nadal stretched his record at Roland Garros to 66 wins and one defeat over the past decade.
His form looked unconvincing as his usually fearsome forehand failed him and handed Djokovic the first set.
Nadal broke in the second set to build up a 4-2 lead, but lost his to give Djokovic the chance to claw back.
The 27-year-old Serb, however, faltered badly to offer a double fault and a forehand error before Nadal smacked a forehand winner to level the score.
Djokovic could not recover from this blow and faded further in the third set.
He fought back midway through the fourth set from 4-2 to pull it level.
"I was just hoping that in the fourth I would be able to come back. I started feeling, as I said, a little bit better, but I wasn't managing to, you know, bring my A game when it was most needed in the end of the fourth," said Djokovic.
He faultered again and allowed Nadal to hold his serve, and then on his serve he desparately saw the Spaniard released a terrific backhand pass to get match point.
Djokovic, disrupted by a call from the crowd, fired his second serve long to hand Nadal his ninth title.