Nadal vs. Djokovic: Rain Delay Will Benefit Djoker in His Quest for History

Austin GreenCorrespondent IJune 11, 2012

PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 10:  Novak Djokovic of Serbia plays a backhand during the men's singles final against Rafael Nadal of Spain on day 15 of the French Open at Roland Garros on June 10, 2012 in Paris, France.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

With an extra night to clear his head and an undeniable advantage in wet conditions, Novak Djokovic's quest for the "Novak Slam" was helped greatly by the rain delay at the 2012 French Open.

Things looked bleak for Djokovic early in Sunday's final, when Rafael Nadal was playing like a man possessed. He ripped past a frustrated Djokovic in the first two sets, then took a 2-0 lead in the third.

Nadal had yet to drop a set in the tournament, and he looked unstoppable in his mission to win a record-setting seventh career Grand Slam. That is, until Mother Nature intervened.

As the Paris rain progressed from a drizzle to a full-on downpour, Nadal lost his edge.

The soggy tennis balls eliminated his signature topspin, and as the resilient Djokovic roared back in the third set, Rafa began to unravel. Djokovic took eight straight games in a row against the king of clay, before Nadal snagged the final one before the delay.

When play resumes at 1 p.m. local time (7 a.m. ET), Djokovic will attempt to complete his comeback from down 4-6, 3-6, 6-2, 2-1.

Although I picked Nadal to win (and I still believe he will), this whole rain fiasco is just what Djokovic needed.

He looked lost in the first two sets, as Nadal played out of his mind and Djokovic couldn't respond. But with his back against the wall, Djoker rebounded like he always seems to do. He's still not in a great position, but with a chance to get his mind right and correct his mistakes, Djokovic can still claw his way back.

He should also have a slight advantage Monday because the forecast calls for showers throughout the day.

If Nadal continues to struggle in the rain, Djokovic will overtake him and secure his place in history.