French Open 2012 Men's Final: TV Schedule, Start Time and Live Stream Info
Even though the French Open draw started with 128 players, the two men left standing are the ones most people were expecting from the outset. Top seed Novak Djokovic will take on six-time Roland Garros champion Rafael Nadal for the 2012 title.
Update: Sunday, June 10th at 3:20 p.m. ET by Timothy Rapp
The final between Nadal and Djokovic has been postponed until Monday due to rain.
Nadal currently leads the match 6-4, 6-3, 2-6, 1-2, but the momentum has shifted to Djokovic. The match is set to resume at 7 a.m. ET.
_____END OF UPDATE_____
Both superstars were able to dispatch elite opponents in the semifinals with relative ease. Djokovic exacted some revenge against Roger Federer, who beat him at last year's French Open. Nadal defeated countryman David Ferrer to advance to his seventh Roland Garros final. Both players won in straight sets.
It's the fourth straight Grand Slam final that will feature the friendly rivals, and each man has a major feat to play for. With a victory, Djokovic will hold all four major titles at once. On the other hand, Nadal would eclipse Bjorn Borg for the most French Open singles titles with seven.
Who will win the 2012 French Open?
Where: Roland Garros in Paris, France
When: Sunday, June 10 at 9 a.m. EDT
Live Stream: NBC Sports
Matchup by the Numbers
1: Djokovic's current ranking
2: Nadal's current ranking
18-14: Career record between the two players with Nadal holding a slight advantage
11-2: Nadal's record on clay against Djokovic
3: Seeded players beat by both men to reach the final
0: Numbers of sets lost by Nadal in this year's French Open
Keys for Novak Djokovic
The most important thing Djokovic must do to avoid getting blown off the court like Nadal's previous six opponents is attack the serve. Aside from his quarterfinal win over Nicolas Almagro, the Spaniard didn't have more than two aces in any match.
He's still able to win handily because his foes haven't done enough to pressure him. Djokovic needs to become as aggressive as possible on both first and second serves, even if it means a couple extra unforced errors. Once the point gets back to neutral, Nadal has the edge.
That leads right into the second key, which is playing quick points. Djokovic has really improved his stamina in recent years, but he won't survive a grinding battle with Nadal, who should be more rested because of all his easy wins.
The first chance "Nole" gets to go for a winner, he has to take it. While he has enough firepower to cause problems for Nadal, he can't afford to play at his opponent's pace. If Djokovic can build up some early momentum and plant a seed of doubt, he'll have a chance.
Keys for Rafael Nadal
As simple as it sounds, the biggest key for Nadal is continuing to do what got him here. A victory would establish him as the greatest clay-court player ever and would be his 11th major title. Despite all of that pressure, he must stick to the game plan.
After all, Nadal perfected the art of playing on clay. He doesn't take any unnecessary risks because his combination of defense and short variety is usually more than enough to overwhelm opponents. So he gives himself plenty of margin and just grinds out wins.
The only other thing he should be concerned with is keeping Djokovic on the move. The Serbian star looked worn down at points during his victory over Federer—a sign his back-to-back, five-set matches might be taking their toll on him.
So look for Nadal to force Djokovic to exert as much energy as possible early in the match. Even if he loses an early set, that should give him the advantage as the match gets deeper and ultimately allow him to win another championship.
Nadal has looked unstoppable. He has made accomplished players look like qualifiers with some of the best tennis of his career, and that's saying something. It would take a truly extraordinary effort from Djokovic to beat him.
Djokovic has been playing well in his own right and is the top-ranked player in the world for a reason. Look for him to win a set, but Nadal will simply be too much in the end.
Prediction: Nadal wins in four sets
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