PARIS – For the first time since 1973 a Roland Garros final has been postponed until Monday and unfortunately the stoppage because of rain prevented one of the most historically important matches of all time from concluding.
When the contest stopped on Sunday night, Rafael Nadal was leading 6-4, 6-3, 2-6, 1-2, but he was down a break and had lost eight of the last nine games. Nadal appeared to have mentally broken the great Serb after winning the first two sets and held a 2-0 lead in the third, but he began to grow irritated under a steady drizzle and while Djokovic managed to crack flat shots in the rain the Spaniard’s usually heavy strokes lost their spark as he was unable to put enough spin on the soggy balls and his shots landed short.
Before that occurred, Nadal put up a wall behind the baseline and managed to attack short balls with ferocity, forcing one error after another off of the Djokovic racket. The first rain break occurred at 5-3 in the second set and when the players came on court, Nadal closed the set out competently.
The Serbian grew so flustered after losing the second set that he knocked a hole in the bench he was sitting on and received a warning. It was later replaced.
After racing out to 2-0 lead in the third set it appeared that Nadal was going to coast to seventh French title, but Djokovic began to push himself forward, take more risks and finally found the form that brought him to the last three Grand Slam titles. His defensive level matched that of Nadal’s in the first two sets and his confidence soared.
While Nadal raged about the conditions and sprayed balls well outside of the court, Djokovic seized control of the match and had all the momentum when the contest was stopped.
If Djokovic manages to come from two sets down against Nadal at Roland Garros, it will be one of the greatest achievements in tennis history as the Spaniard has only lost only one match in the past seven years at the tournament and has only been brought to five sets once, a victory over John Isner in 2011.
It will be resumed at 1 PM Paris time on Monday. The weather has rain continuing on and off the day.