Rafael Nadal wins his record 7th French Open title

by FP Sports  Jun 11, 2012 17:55 IST

#French Open   #Novak Djokovic   #Rafael Nadal  

1755 IST
Nadal-Djokovic: 6-4, 6-2, 2-6, 7-5
A double fault to hand Nadal his seventh French Open crown. Djoko went for the big serve but it was just bad luck. Everyone seems stunned. Rafa too. With so much riding on a game, it's a shame to see it end this way. The Spaniard was under the pump but his serve helped him through the set. It was impressive serving. Djoko's dream ends for now but it remains to be seen how many more French Open titles Nadal can win over his career. This was number seven and he has now broken Bjorn Borg's record of six. It was nice to see how Nadal jumped on his uncle Toni after the win. That was just awesome. Such a nice moment for him. Nadal is the 3rd-youngest man to win 11 Grand Slam titles after Borg and Federer. Vamos!
Also off twitter, @SharkoTennis: With record 7th @RolandGarros crown, @RafaelNadal ties #BjornBorg & #RodLaver w/11 career GSlam titles (T4 alltime list).

1724 IST
Nadal-Djokovic: 6-4, 6-2, 2-6, 6-5
Long game, tough game. Some good returns from Djoko to put Nadal under the gun a little but he managed to serve his way out of trouble. This set looks like it will go to the tie-break.

1718 IST
Nadal-Djokovic: 6-4, 6-2, 2-6, 5-5
Pressure game and Djokovic comes out on top. This is good, gutsy stuff from the Serb. Nadal didn't go all out and Djokovic did. That was some brilliant hitting from Djokovic -- as things get tense, he just seems to get better. He almost always hits his way out of trouble and unbelievably the sun is out!

1712 IST
Nadal-Djokovic: 6-4, 6-2, 2-6, 5-4
Nadal holds at love again. He's leading 2 sets to 1 and 5-4. The next game is crucial. Djokovic is serving to save the match. It might be over very quickly. Expect long rallies in the next game. Rafa telling the ball boys to 'Save the balls.'

1707 IST
Nadal-Djokovic: 6-4, 6-2, 2-6, 4-4
It's raining pretty hard now. Djoko holds. A bit of a struggle but the Serbian comes through and holds. During one of the points, Djoko hit a ball long because when he looked up, raindrops went into his eyes!

1702 IST
Nadal-Djokovic: 6-4, 6-2, 2-6, 4-3
Nadal wins another service game easily. But Djokovic is probably trying to figure out how to keep winning his own service games. At the end of the day, this is how Nadal plays when he has the advantage. He just goes for his shots. Spectators starting to put the rain gear on. Not a good sign for the match and for the players too.

1658 IST
Nadal-Djokovic: 6-4, 6-2, 2-6, 3-3
Finally, Djokovic wins a game today. He jumped to a 40-15 lead and then managed to close it out. He is still looking tentative though. He needs to abandon that approach and start going for broke again. Nadal is already doing that.

1650 IST
Nadal-Djokovic: 6-4, 6-2, 2-6, 3-2
Nadal holds at love. This is a great start by the Spaniard and Djokovic has already been seen holding his head. What's happening here! One would have thought the break would have helped Djokovic too. But here Nadal is back in his element. Djoko needs to fire up quickly or it will soon be over. In the service game, Nadal had 2-3 serves over 200 km/h.
Off twitter, @gregcouch: Dry tennis balls. Nadal has his spin back.

1648 IST
Nadal-Djokovic: 6-4, 6-2, 2-6, 2-2
Nadal gets the break! 2-2 in the fourth set. Tough one for Djokovic -- the ball hit the net and dropped short on breakpoint, Djoko got to it but he couldn't do much with it! Early break and Nadal trying to be aggressive off the backhand too. Djokovic is once again being cautious.

1631 IST
Both players have taken the court. This is going to be epic! The sun is out, the clay is dry and guess who's happy?
Off twitter, ‏@SteveTignor: Sparse crowd, little tension, ballgirl comes up with the balls and onto court singing "Barbara Ann." Players walk on together.

Pre-game
Stunning shots, some mud-slinging, a drizzle and anger -- all made their presence felt in the most anticipated French Open final in a long time.

Nadal is trying to pass Bjorn Borg as the all-time record-holder for French Open titles, and Djokovic is trying to become the first player since Rod Laver to win four straight Grand Slam tournaments. Officials stepped in and halted play at Sunday's waterlogged match with Nadal clinging to a 6-4, 6-2, 2-6, 1-2 lead.

The match begins again at 1630 IST.

The tennis, to begin with, wasn't stellar. Nadal was brilliant to start off, his forehand doing great damage while it seemed like Djokovic's consistency has left him at the worst moment possible.

Nadal was pretty livid by the end. AP

Nadal was pretty livid by the end. AP

With Nadal on the cusp of winning the second set, there was a rain interruption for the first time. And even though the Spaniard came out and won the set easily, that is when the tide began to change.

The drizzle meant that the balls got wet and that, to a degree, negated the top spin forehands and made the balls heavier as well. It also meant that Djokovic could just step up and hit the high balls.

Then slowly, the Serbian got into the game. After going 2-0 down in the third set, he reeled off eight straight games and dominated Nadal in a never-seen-before manner. Even McEnroe in the commentary box believed he had now seen it all.

However, when the match begins today -- no one knows quite what to expect. Will the break help Nadal or will Djokovic continue his domination? One thing that is certain is that even when the match goes into the fifth set, both players will have the legs to play their best tennis.

This isn't the first time a final between Djoko and Nadal is going into Monday though. It's happened before in the US Open finals in 2010 and ’11; the Australian Open final in 2012; the Rome final from last week. But the result as always remains unpredictable.

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