Roland Garros – final

This was a unique moment in tennis history and a tremendous stake for both final participants. For the first time two players created a “common Grand Slam” – it’s not only the first time that two players met in all Grand Slam finals but it was the fourth consecutive major final (!) between Djokovic and Nadal #, the two giants of modern tennis. They were both facing not only each other in the final, but the tennis records as well, Djokovic was bidding to become the first man since Rod Laver (1969) to win four consecutive Grand Slam events while Nadal was trying to equal Pete Sampras‘ record of the most triumphs at one major (7). It was like a pattern out of this world because Djokovic had faced two match points at the last year’s US Open and four match points a couple days ago in Paris…

(2)Rafael Nadal d. (1)Novak Djokovic       6-4, 6-3, 2-6, 7-5       [3:49 h]

The occasion was exceptional and the match memorable due to very bad weather which extended it over two days. Djokovic began this final unluckily, losing the first three points on serve, he saved a triple break point, but on the fourth b.p. made a backhand error. Nadal held a *3:0 lead, but Djokovic – just like a few days before (against Federer) – erased a double break hole, and was two points away from leading 4:3 – committed a double fault though, trying to save a break point – it was 1 out of barely his four double faults in the final, but 2/4 occurred in extremely vital moments… It’s clear that two best return players in the world met on the court, so service games were not particularly crucial on a heavy and very slow surface, the most important were punishing baseline rallies, and Nadal was a dominant figure in the vast majority of them. Difficult conditions on Philippe Chatrier stadium worsened and the rain interrupted the final at 5:3 for Nadal in the 2nd set. After a 34-minute rain delay, Nadal broke Djokovic with a stunning backhand pass (sliding himself) to take a two-set lead. It seemed that the match was over when he held his own service game and broke easily the Serbian player once again at the start of the 3rd set. Then, Djokovic realized he had nothing to lose and started to deliver his best tennis, Nadal was running from side to side but couldn’t do anything against well-placed balls that Djokovic was producing from all angles of the court with astonishing accuracy. So, after six straight games for Nadal (Djokovic led 3:2* in the 2nd set), the Serb notched an 8-game winning streak – Nadal’s first lost set after 30 winning in a row!! The Spaniard finally got his service game and this time the rain helped him to halt the overwhelming disposition of Djokovic. [ The last time the men’s final was not completed on Sunday was in 1973. Bad weather meant the match could not be completed until the Tuesday, when Ilie Nastase beat Niki Pilic 6-3 6-3 6-0. ] The final was resumed on Monday at 1 p.m. and Nadal broke back immediately to ’30’. Since then, they were holding service games quite comfortably until the 12th game – Djokovic led 30/15. One point later Nadal won a 10-stroke rally with a forehand winner to get the first match point. And then, happened a small tragedy for Djokovic – he bounced 26 times before the serve (16 & 10 intervals) but missed, 8 times before the second serve and failed again despite he didn’t even risk that second serve. His head dropped in disillusionment with sight towards the clay, meantime, on the other side of the net Nadal celebrated on his knees another Parisian crown, covering his head with both hands. Then, he jumped like a Tarzan onto the stadium to hug his friends and family. “For me it is a real honour. Borg is one of the greatest in history, one of the more charismatic players in history,” Nadal said in a post-match interview with John McEnroe. “The comparison with the great Bjorn is fantastic. He’s always been very nice to me, so I have to say thanks.” Nadal has overcome Bjorn Borg‘s record of six triumphs in Paris, now he is tied with Pete Sampras in the most titles in a Grand Slam tournament. With his 11th major crown, Nadal moves into a third-place tying with Borg for the most singles championships in the Open era ##. He also becomes just the 10th player of the Open era history to win 50 titles on the ATP World Tour, with 36 of his successes occurring on clay. La Coupe des Mousquetaires Nadal received from the three-time champion Mats Wilander.  ### The runner-up, and still the best player in the world, who has lost first major encounter after 27-match winning streak, said:  “I could easily have lost the match in fourth round or even more against Tsonga, but I managed to come to the final for the first time in my career. I should be happy about that. I thought we played a fantastic match where people hopefully enjoyed yesterday and today, and I was even surprised with the number of people who attended this match today. It was a working day, but it was still a full stadium. It’s beautiful. These matches make you feel like all the work that you put into it is worth [it].” Stats of the final.

Doubles final:
(1)M.Mirnyi/D.Nestor d. (2)B.Bryan/M.Bryan 6-4, 6-4

# Four consecutive major finals between Djokovic and Nadal:
(for the first time in the Open era two players met in four consecutive Grand Slams!)
Wimbledon 2011: Djokovic d. Nadal 6-4, 6-1, 1-6, 6-3
US Open 2011: Djokovic d. Nadal 6-2, 6-4, 6-7(3), 6-1
Australian Open 2012:  Djokovic d. Nadal 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-7(5), 7-5
Roland Garros 2012: Nadal d. Djokovic 6-4, 6-3, 2-6, 7-5
## Most major titles in the Open era:
16Roger Federer (2003-10)
14 – Pete Sampras (1990-02)
11 – Bjorn Borg (1974-1981) & Rafael Nadal (2005-12)
### Longest Grand Slam match winning streaks in the Open era:
29 – Rod Laver (1969-70)
27 – Roger Federer – twice: (2005-06) & (2006-07); Novak Dokovic (2011-12)
25 – Jimmy Connors (1974-75); Pete Sampras (1993-94)Rafael Nadal (2010-11)
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