Nadal and Djokovic must return to finish Paris duel
Updated: 2012-06-11 09:51
PARIS - Novak Djokovic and Rafa Nadal will have to come back to finish their French Open final after rain prevented a conclusion on Sunday with the match on a knife-edge.
The encounter was halted with Nadal leading 6-4 6-3 2-6 1-2 but the momentum was with the Serb who had launched an early evening fightback.
Rafael Nadal of Spain (top) returns the ball to Novak Djokovic of Serbia during their men's singles final match at the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, June 10, 2012.[Photo/Agencies]
It had been a intriguing encounter.
Nadal came into the match the overwhelming favorite and quickly took it by the scruff, claiming the first two sets.
His rasping forehand winners pierced holes in Djokovic's defensive armour as he looked to be running away with the match, while the Serb was doing all he could just to keep hold of his temper.
He twice showed his petulance by tossing his racket and smashing his chair as he lost control of the second set.
But as the drizzle began to fall and the evening gloom set in, Djokovic launched a resilient revolt and roared in delight as he secured a second break in the third before comfortably closing it out.
It was then the Spaniard's turn to get rattled. Nadal began to lose his cool at the beginning of the fourth as persistent light rain made visibility tough and conditions treacherous underfoot.
It was not just a trophy and a 1.25 million euro ($1.56 million) prizemoney on the line: Djokovic was bidding to become only the third man to win all four grand slams consecutively while Nadal was hoping to become the outright holder of the record for Roland Garros titles.
The six-times champion was already a break down when the match referee called players off for the second time at 1651 GMT and despite hopes that play would resume, it was decided to postpone the on-court duel until 1100 on Monday.
That was scant consolation to fans, many of whom had travelled from abroad, to come and see tennis's best two players fight out for high stakes.
A resounding theme among their complaints was the start time. When bad weather had been forecast long in advance of Sunday's final, why was the match not brought forward from its scheduled start of 1500 local time (1300 GMT).
"This is very bad organization, they should have started the match earlier because they knew the forecast," Vladimir Bojovic told Reuters after travelling to Paris from Belgrade to support Djokovic.
"This is just dreadful for tourists as we came for this day and now we have pay even more money to change our flight tickets and spend an extra night in the hotel."
It was left to tournament director Gilbert Ysern to provide the answers. "Why did we not start earlier? You have to imagine that even though TV does not dictate, there are arrangements that are made weeks and months before the event regarding starting times and all that.
"You cannot change overnight and tell all broadcasters in the world, "Sorry, but you have to change everything and wait because we are going to change the schedule of tomorrow's matches". It doesn't work like that."