Nadal vs. Djokovic: What We Learned from Rome Masters 2012 Final

Alex KayCorrespondent IMay 21, 2012

ROME, ITALY - MAY 21:  Rafael Nadal of Spain holds his winners  trophy after defeating Novak Djokovic of Serbia in their final match during day ten of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia 2012 at the Foro Italico Tennis Centre on May 21, 2012 in Rome, Italy.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Rafael Nadal has defeated Novak Djokovic in the 2012 Rome Masters Finals. The Spaniard defeated the world No. 1 in straight sets, but the match was much closer than the 7-5, 6-3 score would indicate.

Let’s take a look at what the tennis world has just witnessed and what the best players must take away from Nadal’s upset victory over the Djoker.


Djokovic Is His Own Worst Enemy

Rafa may have done less to defeat Novak than the Serb did to beat himself. Nole kept blowing golden opportunities to take the lead and the ATP Masters final by playing angry and letting frustration get the best of him.

At one point, a ball was mistakenly called out after Djokovic seemingly won a wild rally, and the top player was furious. His anger forced him to play less than stellar and distract him, which eventually led to Rafa taking the first set.


Rafa’s New Serving Strategy Works

Nadal decided to continually serve the ball towards the Djoker’s forehand, and it paid dividends. Djokovic was not effective with his returns, allowing Rafa to establish control of the match.

Combined with the Spaniard’s great defense, it was a recipe that resulted in Nadal's second triumph over his nemesis in their past nine matches.


Nadal Is the Player to Beat in French Open

The King of Clay has retaken his throne at the Rome Masters, just in time for Rolland Garros in a little over five days.

Nadal is the reigning champion at the event and has momentum going into the tournament with this great win over a tough opponent.

Expect Rafa to be the favorite during the 2012 French Open. It would be a shock if he were to lose on the heels of such a strong victory today in Italy.