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  • French Open, Day 16

Nadal defies Djokovic to clinch seventh French crown

ESPN staff
June 11, 2012 « London 2012 just the start for GB basketball | Chartbeat test »

Rafael Nadal claimed a record seventh French Open title after ending Novak Djokovic's bid to hold all four grand slams.

Men's final gallery

After rain forced the final to be suspended on Sunday, the world No. 2 returned to the court on Monday to complete a 6-4 6-3 2-6 7-5 victory to surpass Bjorn Borg's record of six titles at Roland Garros.

Nadal had seen Djokovic eat into his two-set lead as the Serb took advantage of the damp conditions later on Sunday, winning eight games in a row to force himself firmly back into the match.

Nadal trailed by a break of serve in the fourth set when play resumed on Monday, but the defending champion started aggressively, breaking back in the opening game.

After some resolute defence by the Spaniard, a lucky bounce off the top of the net helped Nadal's cause, and although Djokovic showed impressive athleticism to reach the ball, he left the court wide open and Nadal made no mistake as he dispatched a backhand fizzing past to break back.

With more rain forecast on Monday, Nadal was keen to get the match wrapped up in a timely fashion, and he pressed Djokovic firmly behind the baseline before luring him in with a backhand played short - only to slam a winner past for a love service game.

Djokovic was on the back foot, but a Nadal forehand flashed narrowly wide, and the world No. 1 levelled proceedings after Nadal left the ball, believing it to have been out, but the umpire deemed otherwise.

Rain threatened to disrupt play for a third time in the match, but as the players sheltered under umbrellas in their chairs with Nadal leading 5-4 on serve, it proved to be merely a passing shower as the players soon resumed in the sunshine.

Djokovic, bidding to become first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to hold all four majors, held serve to stay in the match, but Nadal turned defence into attack to bring up championship point, and he was gifted the title after a double fault from Djokovic.

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