Rafael Nadal won his seventh French Open Championship on Monday, defeating Novak Djokovic 6-4, 6-3, 2-6 and 7-5. The match was delayed by rain on Sunday evening with Nadal down 2-1 in the fourth set, but he came back immediately when play resumed to even things 2-2.
Even was how the day developed, with Nadal repeatedly taking a small advantage and Djokovic battling back each time. It went 3-2 for Nadal, then 3-3, Nadal went up by a game again, then Djokovic tied it at 4. Nadal again won to take the lead, but a short time later Djokovic made it 5-5 again. Nadal took the next game to go up 6-5, and when he found himself on the right side of 30-40, he was just one point away from his seventh title. Incredibly, that point came on a double fault by Djokovic, an error by his opponent giving Nadal the win.
Djokovic was denied his bid to hold all four tennis majors at the same time, something not done since Rod Laver in 1969. Nadal seemed to allude to that in his comments to the official French Open site:
"I had already lost three Grand Slam finals against him so it was important to win mentally," he explained. "The mental part is also more important on clay and my game naturally adapts very well to this surface... Novak plays fantastic and is having a great season. But you can't be perfect all the time."
Nadal's seventh Roland Garros title is a record, and his 40 wins for the season are more than any other player. As a consolation prize, Djokovic is the only man to have taken a set from the champion in the 2012 French Open. A full scoreboard for the tournament can be found at SI.com.
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