Nadal tops Djokovic for 7th French Open title
By Eddie Pells, AP
June 12, 2012, 12:05 am TWN
Djokovic rolled through the third set as the rain turned the heavy red clay into more of a muddy paste. He had all the momentum when play was halted, up a break early in the fourth. The weather cleared well before dusk Sunday and Djokovic said he was sitting around the changing room, ready to play. But officials decided to call it a washout, setting up the first non-Sunday finish at the French Open since 1973, when Ilie Nastase wrapped up his title on a Tuesday.
When Nadal and Djokovic came back to Roland Garros on Monday under cloudy skies, they shook hands as they passed each other on the practice court. A bit later, the match resumed. Both the surface on Court Phillippe-Chartier and the tennis balls had dried out, and Nadal looked more like he usually does — sliding into his stops, spinning his shots, moving Djokovic around, always getting one more ball back.
“I'm not going back, saying it's your fault and your fault because I lost,” Djokovic said. “It's unfortunate because I was playing better, feeling better on the court in the third set yesterday. Today, he started strong. I started slower. I was a little bit unfortunate in that first game and things turned around.”
On the restart, Nadal broke serve right away to tie the set at 2-2 and the frustrated Djokovic was back — slamming himself in the head with his racket after missing an easy forehand that gave Nadal the break point.
It was one of 15 unforced errors in the set for Djokovic, who went back to trying to end points early and blunt the huge advantage Nadal has sliding around on clay. When the surface was muddy, the evening before in the third set, Djokovic only made eight unforced errors.
“But I don't find an excuse in that,” Djokovic said, speaking of the decision to halt play Sunday night. “The better player won today, so congratulations on that.”
Play was nearly stopped with Nadal ahead 5-4 in the fourth, but a rain shower passed and they went back out. Both men held serve and Djokovic needed to hold once more trailing 6-5 to force a tiebreaker.
Nadal hit a big forehand winner to set up match point, and Djokovic, who had saved four of those in a quarterfinal win over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, had no more magic. He double-faulted and fell to 0-4 against Nadal at the French Open.
Nadal fell to his knees and buried his head in his hands, then clambered into the stands to hug his family, including his uncle and coach, Toni.