PARIS - By the fourth game, Rafael Nadal had Roger Federer kicking the clay in frustration. By the second set, the normally stoic Federer was screaming at himself.
The drubbing went on from there. Nadal won his fourth consecutive French Open title in a rout yesterday, again spoiling Federer's bid to complete a career Grand Slam.
Dominating the world's No. 1 player with astounding ease, Nadal swept six consecutive games early in the match and swept the final nine games to win, 6-1, 6-3, 6-0.
It was Federer's worst loss in his 173 Grand Slam matches, and the most lopsided men's final at Roland Garros since 1977.
So thorough was the thumping that during the trophy ceremony, Nadal was moved to apologize.
"Roger, I'm sorry for the final," Nadal said.
It was merely another in a series of dominating victories by the Spaniard, who lost only 41 games in seven rounds.
"I've hoped I could have done better today than four games," Federer said. "But Rafael was very strong this year."
The No. 2-ranked Nadal became the second man to win four consecutive French Open titles. Swedish superstar Bjorn Borg did it from 1978 to 1981.
"Winning four times in a row is incredible," Nadal said. "The comparison with Borg is always very nice, especially because he's much better than me."
Nadal improved to 28-0 at Roland Garros, where he has won 83 of 90 sets. Only six-time champion Borg won more French Open men's titles. And Nadal became the first man since Borg in 1980 to win the tournament without dropping a set.
For the fourth consecutive year, Federer arrived in Paris seeking to become the sixth man to win all four major titles. Each time, he has lost to Nadal - in the semifinals in 2005, and in the final each of the last three years.
Borg watched from the front row as fans rooted in vain for a competitive contest, chanting "Ro-ger! Ro-ger!" between games. But Nadal earned their cheers, too. He won 24 of 27 points to take a 2-0 lead in the second set as a desperate Federer tried everything to reverse the tide.
But when Federer played serve-and-volley on a second serve, Nadal lunged to hit a lob into the corner for a winner. When Federer tried to chip and charge off a return, Nadal passed him with a backhand.
And when Federer settled for playing from the baseline, he had little chance. It's tough to hit shots where the relentless Nadal can't reach them, and Federer probably tried too hard, with uncharacteristic errors flying from his racket.
"When you really cannot play your game, and he can play exactly what he wants from the baseline, you end up with scores like this sometimes," Federer said. "He hardly made unforced errors, and when he's on the attack, he's lethal."