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French Open 2012: Moments That Will Be Difficult for Wimbledon to Top

Brian KleinCorrespondent IIJune 13, 2012

French Open 2012: Moments That Will Be Difficult for Wimbledon to Top

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    Through rain delays, countless long rallies and even an extra day of play, the 2012 French Open delivered on every level.  

    The 2012 French Open produced some memorable tennis matches and early exits of a few top seeds. 

    Tennis fans got to watch and experience Maria Sharapova and Rafael Nadal as they were placed in the annals of French Open and tennis history.  The two weeks of Roland Garros rewrote the history books. 

    The biggest clay court tournament once again did not disappoint. 

    Let’s take a quick look at the 2012 French Open moments that Wimbledon will never be able to top.

Maria Sharapova and Her Grand Slam

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    Maria Sharapova came into the 2012 French Open after a career-best season on clay.  She had already won the WTA Tour titles, and held an 11-1 record on the red surface.

    Having secured the No. 1 seed after defeating Petra Kvitova in the semifinals, Maria Sharapova won her first French Open title by besting Sara Errani.

    Largely unchallenged, the 25-year-old asserted her dominance over the field, winning the 2012 French Open with ease.  Sharapova lost just one set to Klara Zakopalova in the fourth round.

    Upon winning the final match, Maria Sharapova became the sixth woman in the Open Era to complete the career Grand Slam.  Sharapova added her name to a list that includes Margaret Court, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Steffi Graf and Serena Williams

Novak Djokovic and His Lack of History

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    The big Serbian and world's current No. 1 player is another who could have placed himself  the history books by winning the 2012 French Open. 

    With a victory at Roland Garros, Djokovic would have completed his own personal career Grand Slam.  In addition, he would have also reigned as active champion at four consecutive Grand Slam events. 

    Djokovic’s already impressive hot streak included victories at Wimbledon in 2011, the US Open in 2011 and the Australian Open in 2012. 

    Novak Djokovic smelled history on the horizon after a somewhat difficult run through the tournament. He had to endure two five-set matches, including a thriller in the quartersfinals against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, in which Djokovic saved four match points before prevailing.

    But the final victory against Rafael Nadal eluded him, and Djokovic´s winning streak at Grand Slams ended at 27 matches.

Rafael Nadal Continues to Assert His Dominance

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    No expert can ever refute the dominance of Rafael Nadal on the clay courts.  The No. 2-ranked player in the world has even been nicknamed the “clay court king."

    Entering the event, Rafael Nadal was tied with Bjorn Borg with six French Open titles.  Rafael Nadal pushed his Roland Garros record to an imposing 52-1 (losing only to Robin Soderling in the fourth round in 2009). 

    It only seemed right that Nadal faced his rival Novak Djokovic in the finals.  With both men looking to etch their name in history, the match could not have disappointed. 

    Rafael Nadal lost just one set to the big Serbian and claimed yet another clay court title.

    With Rafael Nadal winning his seventh French Open and breaking his tie with Bjorn Borg, he is undoubtedly the best clay court tennis player of all time.  

Struggles for Serena Williams

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    At one time, most Americans and tennis experts believed that Serena Williams would never lose on clay.

    Even this season, Williams had gone 17-0 on the surface before the French Open. 

    But Serena Williams struggled early and often at the 2012 French Open, suffering a heart-breaking first-round upset (6-4, 6-7, 3-6) to Virginie Razzano

    To call Razzano’s upset of Serena Williams unexpected is an understatement. 

    Williams had gone 46-0 in her career in first round matches at Grand Slams before the French Open.

    Razzano was also the 111th-ranked player in the world entering the 2012 French Open.  In face, Razzano needed to receive a wild card to even enter into the main French Open draw

Cinderella Story Emerges

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    Italian tennis player Sara Errani has clearly showcased her skills way before this event. 

    She tallied multiple singles wins on the WTA Tour.  Entering the 2012 French Open, Errani was 17-2 on red clay this season.  

    But one can make the case that the 2012 French Open was her breakout event.  Errani came to Paris with a record of 0-28 against Top 10 players. 

    Errani quickly erased that record from everyone’s memory after defeating Angelique Kerber and Samantha Stosur in back-to-back matches.

    With these victories, Sara Errani was able to reach her first Grand Slam final.

It Takes Time to Achieve

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    John Isner has a long history of having time-consuming matches. 

    The world's No. 10-ranked player already holds the record for being part of the longest match in the history of tennis.  At Wimbledon in 2010, Isner matched skills with France’s Nicolas Mahut for 183 games—a match that lasted for over 11 hours.     

    Not too much changed for Isner at the French Open. 

    Isner got engaged in another lengthy match during the second round, as he matched up against another Frenchmen, Paul-Henri Mathieu.  Isner and Mathieu needed 76 games to decide a victor. 

    The five-hour-and-41-minute match at the 2012 French Open has officially been listed as the second-longest match in French Open tournament history. 

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