• French Open, men's final

Double trouble ends Djokovic's dream of the 'Tiger Slam'

ESPN staff
June 11, 2012
The moment of victory: Rafael Nadal sinks to his knees © PA Photos

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Nadal defies Djokovic to win 7th French crown

Men's final gallery

Making the same mistakes

Going into Sunday's contest, Novak Djokovic had lost all ten of the matches on clay against Rafael Nadal where he had dropped the opening set. Considering all that, being broken in both of his first two service games (including the very first game of the match) probably wasn't in his gameplan...

Clay king made to look like a novice

During a period in the third set Novak Djokovic won eight games in a row against Nadal, who looked temporarily like he had never even seen the surface before. It was a remarkable spell of play from the Serbian, who was desperate to keep his 'Tiger Slam' dream alive.

An elite club

Speaking of eight, when Djokovic wrapped up the third set he became just the eighth person ever to win a set against Nadal at Roland Garros. The rest of that illustrious club: Robin Soderling (who beat him), Roger Federer, John Isner, Leyton Hewitt, Mariano Puerta, Paul-Henri Mathieu and Sebastien Grosjean.

Lucky bounce

Trailing by a break of serve in the fourth set when play resumed on Monday, Nadal burst out of the blocks by breaking straight back, but not without a little luck. The ball bounced off the top of the net and dropped, and although Djokovic made the shot, he left the court wide open and Nadal made no mistake as he fizzed a backhand past to seal the break.

Double trouble

In the end, double faults at inopportune times cost Djokovic dearly. A double fault on break point was the difference as Nadal took the opening set, before he did exactly the same thing once again to start off the second stanza.

Then, when the players returned on Monday, a double fault on championship point handed the tournament to Nadal. Three crucial errors that cost the Serbian his chance at the 'Tiger Slam'.

Simply the best

A clearly emotional Nadal sank to his knees at the moment of victory before making his way to his box to celebrate with his family. His win saw him surpass Bjorn Borg's record of six titles at Roland Garros, confirming his status as the greatest clay court player of all time. The win also sees him move joint fourth on the all-time list with 11 grand slams - level with Borg and Rod Laver.
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