The finals of the 2012 French Open feature some very familiar faces and one woman who's made a big splash at this tournament. The men's final features world number one Novak Djokovic and reigning French Open champ Rafael Nadal. Maria Sharapova's return to glory is the big story on the women's side as she goes up against little-known Sara Errani.
These are some of the best players in the world, but they do have their weaknesses. Look for these players to exhibit these struggles as they try to win a Grand Slam title.
Sara Errani has made quite a splash at Roland Garros in 2012. Errani took down sixth-ranked Samantha Stosur to make it to her first French Open final against Maria Sharapova. The 24th ranked Italian also won the finals of the doubles tournament alongside partner Roberta Vinci.
Errani is having a great season, winning three singles events and advancing to the quarterfinals of the Austrailian Open in January. Errani has been tested many times this season by players ranked in the top ten with some success as of late.
Errani's biggest weakness is her height and inability to counter the power that the taller players can generate. Sharapova's game relies on hard winners, and the 5'4" Errani is going to have to tactically beat Sharapova. She lacks the ability to overwhelm her with any power.
Maria Sharapova has finally retained her world number one rank for the first time in four years since right shoulder surgery. That shoulder is Sharapova's biggest issue for this French Open final.
Sharapova's ability to generate power comes from that right shoulder.
She has the chance to overpower the shorter Sara Errani but must rely on a hard serve and more winners. Sharapova has also had her struggles with her high double-fault total.
Rafael Nadal has shown that he can be considered the greatest clay court player ever. But there is a way for Novak Djokovic to put an end to Rafa's run in the French Open.
Nadal has an extremely meticulous process on the tennis court. It's an almost obsessive-compulsive twelve-step system that he must keep consistently.
Nadal's biggest weakness when going up against "The Djoker" is leaving his comfort zone. Djokovic has the ability to force Nadal to change his patterns.
Nadal likes to play to his opponents' backhand, but Djokovic has the best backhand in the game. Nadal likes to overpower people with his serve, but Djokovic has the best return in the game. This will force Nadal to change his system, which won't allow him to be on his "A" game.
For a player as good as Novak Djokovic, it is almost impossible to find a weakness in his game. But there's a lot of pressure that goes into a French Open final, and Djokovic is certainly feeling it now. After beating Rodger Federer in straight sets today, Djokovic showed why he is good enough to be the top ranked player in the world.
Djokovic's problem is his opponent. Rafael Nadal might just be to hard to beat on the clay courts.