RAFAEL NADAL WINS ROLAND GARROS
Posted: Jun 12, 2012
Spaniard beats Djokovic to claim seventh Roland Garros title
Rafael Nadal beat Novak Djokovic in four sets to win a record seventh French Open title.
Nadal’s 6-4 6-3 2-6 7-5 victory saw him eclipse Bjorn Borg’s six titles at Roland Garros and prevented Djokovic becoming the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to hold all four grand Slam titles at the same time.
A double fault from the Serb was an awful way for a classic encounter to be settled, but Nadal had been the better man since the players returned to the court on Monday following the previous day’s rain delay.
Upon clinching victory, Nadal climbed into the stands to embrace his support team before taking his customary bite of the Coupe des Mousquetaires.
Speaking about overtaking the great Swede, the 26-year-old told the crowd: “It’s an honour but the most important thing is this tournament. It’s unforgettable, one of the most special moments in my career.
“For me, this tournament is the most special tournament in the world.”
Djokovic had launched an impressive fightback on Sunday to keep his ‘Djoker Slam’ hopes alive.
Nadal had led by two sets and a break but by the time rain stopped play, Djokovic had claimed the third set and was a break up in the fourth with Nadal unable to put as much spin on the wet, heavy balls.
Clouds were still very much around when the players resumed at 1300 local time on Monday and Nadal immediately recovered the service break to level the fourth set at 2-2.
The brutal long rallies which had been so in evidence on Sunday continued as the set progressed to 5-4.
With Djokovic about to serve to stay in the tournament, further rain caused a brief delay.
To his credit the world number one duly held but he was not to stop Nadal.
After holding for 6-5, the Spaniard struck in game 12, forcing match point with a thunderous forehand and then seeing his opponent send two serves long.
Nadal’s seventh title in Paris is his 11th at Grand Slam level and sees him draw level with Laver and Borg in the all-time list. Only Roger Federer, Pete Sampras and Roy Emerson are now above him.
Djokovic had no complaints with the result.
He said: “I feel really privileged to be in this position, being in the final at Roland Garros for the first time. I enjoyed the match, Rafa was the better player. I hope to come back next year and play even better.’’
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