Nadal Defeats Djokovic for Record Seventh French Open Title

by John on June 11, 2012

Rafael Nadal won a record-setting seventh French Open Monday afternoon, besting Novak Djokovic 6-4, 6-3, 2-6, 7-5 in a final spanning two days and halted three times by rain. World No. 2 Nadal improved to 52-1 at Roland Garros, while capturing his 11th Grand Slam title and breaking a tie with Bjorn Borg for most French Open crowns. Only a Round of 16 defeat at the hands of Robin Soderling in 2009 blemishes the Spaniard’s record in Paris. Rafa’s victory also put an end to Djokovic’s quest to become the first player since Rod Laver in 1969 to hold all four Grand Slam trophies simultaneously. The top-ranked Serb’s run had started at Wimbledon in July and continued through January with his win at the Australian Open. Each of his three championship victories came at Nadal’s expense. “This tournament is, for me, the most special tournament in the world,” Nadal said. “It was a very difficult match against the best player in the world.” Nadal was the steadier player for most of the first two sets yesterday, overcoming the damp, heavy conditions on the red clay of Roland Garros to lead 6-4, 5-3 before rain stopped play. After a 34-minute delay, Nadal broke the Serb to take a two-set lead. Rafa held and broke Djokovic again, and at 2-0, seemed to be in total control. But Nole wouldn’t succumb, and ran off eight straight games to win the third set and lead 2-0 in the fourth. For the first time in the match, Nadal appeared rattled — especially after losing a 44-shot rally in the opening game of the set. Rain suspended play for good Sunday night, with Nadal trailing 1-2 and down a break in the fourth set. The stoppage proved to be fortuitous for Nadal as Djokovic clearly had the momentum on his side. Nadal’s coach and uncle, Toni Nadal, acknowedged as much. “I said, ‘Good, we’ve had some luck. If we hadn’t stopped, we were going home.'” Nadal was a different player this afternoon as his confidence returned. He broke serve right away to level the set at 2-2 after his netcord opened up the court for a routine winner. The next five games proceeded on serve until another brief rain delay. Djokovic held for 5-all. Nadal amped it up in the last two games, holding in a tight game for 6-5, and then cracking a forehand winner at 30-all in the next game to set up championship point. Djokovic then served up his fourth double fault, handing victory to a jubilant Nadal after three hours and 49 minutes of play. ‘‘He’s definitely the best player in history on this surface and the results are showing that he’s one of the best-ever players to play this game,’’ Djokovic said. Nadal improved to 19-14 against Nole.




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