French Open Tennis 2012 Results: Top 5 Moments from Epic Finals Match
Through rain delays, constant long rallies and even an extra day of play, the 2012 French Open men's final delivered.
The final, which Nadal eventually took, was very anticipated for many reasons.
Nadal was looking to continue his dominance at the French Open with a record seven titles in Paris, and Djokovic was looking to win four consecutive Grand Slams and his first at Rolland Garros.
Here's a look at the top five moments from the 2012 French Open final.
Strong Start for Rafa
Nadal came out striking in the first set. He was, by far, the more aggressive player. Djokovic looked to see a glimpse of arguably the greatest clay court player in history.
With the long rallies between the two, Nadal seemed to get every ball back into play. This forced Djokovic to go for his shots in attempts for a winner. He was playing Nadal's game.
Rafa was able to play a balanced mix of offense and defense. He made Djokovic anxious in the rally, and it showed on the court.
A strong start for Rafa at Rolland Garros is always trouble. He jumped out to an early 3-0 lead. Holding serve was quite tough for Djokovic throughout the first couple of sets.
Through two rain delays, the momentum of the match certainly shifted throughout the final.
The first rain delay occurred at the end of the second set with Rafa clinging to a 5-3 lead. Things looked to be in control for the Spaniard. The first delay was definitely beneficial for Djokovic to regroup and try to get back into the match.
While the rain delay was brief, the momentum seemed to shift to the Serb. After losing the second set, Djokovic was able to swing loosely in the third set. He fell down a break early but was able to bounce back and play like the top-ranked player in the world.
Nadal was on the ropes. It seemed that the final could go the distance.
Then again, the rain wouldn't let up on Sunday. After losing the set relatively easily 6-2, Rafa saw himself get broken immediately in the fourth set.
The rain started to pick up, and Nadal was trying his best to hint to the chair umpire and tournament referee that the men couldn't play in such conditions.
At one moment, Rafa even threw a wet tennis ball in the direction of the tournament referee to try to persuade him to get the guys off the court.
Djokovic was in complete control, but at 2-1 in the fourth set, the guys had to head back to the locker rooms and get ready for continuation on Monday.
The rain definitely proved to be a factor in the final. In whose benefit? Both players, but one could easily argue how the match was getting away from Nadal.
With the rain helping Nadal in extra rest and fitness, he was able to come back on Monday and take care of business.
Djokovic Comes Alive
After trailing two sets down, all hope looked gone for Djokovic. After all, his opponent was Nadal on clay.
This didn't phase the No. 1 player in the world. Nole was able to fight back after getting broken in the third set early. He was able to build frustration in Rafa's head.
For this one set, everything looked like Wimbledon 2011, the U.S. Open 2011 and this year's Australian Open.
Djokovic looked to be more aggressive, and this forced Nadal outside of his comfort zone.
Djoker made quick work of him, beating the Spaniard 6-2 in the third set.
This wasn't just a one set thing, either. Djokovic was able to get an early break in the fourth set to go up 2-0. If it wasn't for the rain, the Serbian could have ran away with the fourth set and possibly even the match.
Fresh Legs and Rest Equals Dangerous Rafa
The rain delay certainly benefited Nadal. He was able to overcome a tough situation after breaking early in the fourth to even up the match at 2-2.
The unfortunate luck for Djokovic proved to be the downfall as well. An extra day of rest allowed Nadal to come back to the match and look as good as he was in the first two sets.
All the momentum seemed to shift back to the Spaniard. With a couple of chances, Nadal was able to capitalize on his chances.
His ground strokes looked similar to the first pair or sets, and he was able to move as well as he did early on in the final.
What a Way to Go Down
What a way for Djokovic to lose an opportunity to win his first French. Not only losing the match that he had in his grasp but to lose it on a double fault?
Now that hurts.
Clearly Rafa was the one to dictate play in the fourth set on Monday. It was tough for Djokovic to play like he was in the third set.
That's not saying he didn't play well. He did, but Nadal was able to win the major points in the set.
When the momentum shifted, the rain started. It was an endless cycle of momentum, and Rafa got the better end of the deal.