Friday, June 8, 2012

Roland Garros: The Final: No. 1 vs. No. 2

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The men's final at the 2012 French Open is all set. It'll be, surprise, surprise--

World No. 1 and 5-time Grand Slam Champion Novak Djokovic VS. World No. 2 and 10-time Grand Slam Champion Rafael Nadal. This will be the 4th consecutive Grand Slam final's clash for Djokovic and Nadal, which is a first in tennis history. Never before had the same two men met in 4 consecutive major finals. Djokovic has won the first three but now they meet in Nadal's kingdom.

For Djokovic, this is his first-ever appearance in the French Open final.

For Nadal, well, his story at Roland Garros is legendary--
  • He has a 51-1 match record.
  • He is a 6-time champion (2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2011).
  • The only year he didn't win the title was in 2009 and that was because of injuries. With injuries and all he still managed to make the 4th round, losing to eventual runner-up Robin Soderling. Then-World No. 2 Roger Federer captured the 2009 title in Rafa's absence.
  • If he wins the 2012 title it will be his record 7th French Open title. He's currently tied with the legendary Bjorn Borg with 6 titles.
But this 2012 final will be the test of all tests for Nadal. In Djokovic, he is playing against a man who has been on an astronomical level the past two seasons, winning 4 of the last 5 Grand Slam titles. He is looking to complete the "Novak Slam" (holding all 4 major titles simultaneously) which is a monumental accomplishment that hasn't been done in 43 years.

Nadal, however, has beaten Djokovic twice this year on clay, both in Final's matches-- at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters and at the Italian Open-- so the momentum is definitely on Nadal's side.

But momentum or no momentum, make no mistake about it, Djokovic is no slouch. This should be a final's match for the ages.

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