Weather holds up classic title clash

Nadal leads Djokovic by two sets to one before rain halts proceedings; final to resume today

Weather holds up classic title clash

Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic were locked in a tight French Open final duel on Sunday when rain caused a suspension until Monday, only the second time in history that the tournament has not finished on time.

Nadal, chasing a record seventh Roland Garros title, was leading 6-4, 6-3, 2-6, 1-2 when play was halted for a second and final time with conditions on Philippe Chatrier Court becoming increasingly treacherous. The final, already in progress for three hours, will resume on Monday with Djokovic in the ascendancy and serving for a 3-1 lead in the fourth set.The last time a French Open men’s final failed to be completed on a Sunday was in 1973 when it was played on the following Tuesday with Ilie Nastase beating Niki Pilic.

The Spanish world number two, playing in his 16th Grand Slam final and seeking an 11th major, went into the final with a staggering record of 51 wins against just one loss at Roland Garros. Djokovic, the Wimbledon, US Open and Australian Open champion, was looking to emulate Don Budge (1938) and Rod Laver (1962 and 1969) by holding four majors at the same time.  Before Djokoivc staged the fightback, the Spaniard raced into a 3-0 lead in the opening set with two breaks of serve as his forehand pierced Djokovic's armour.

Nadal had the opportunity to go 4-0 up, but missed a forehand wide allowing the Serb, who is bidding to win his fourth straight major, to force his way back into the tie. He cleverly dragged Nadal out of court and then finished him off with crunching winners to draw level with a double break of his own.

After putting in the effort to get himself back in the set, he allowed Nadal to edge ahead again with a double fault at break point in the seventh game and he finished it off three games later with a forehand across court.

The second set began in a similar vein to the first with Djokovic losing his opening service game with a double fault on break point and then fighting back from 2-0 down to lead 3-2 as the drizzle began to fall on Court Philippe Chatrier.

Nadal broke in the seventh game with a rasping forehand winner, which again brought the worst out in the frustrated Serb who smashed a hole in his courtside chair. The second seed moved to within one game of the set when rain suspended play for 35 minutes and he was quick out of the blocks on the restart, breaking to take the second set with a scorching backhand winner on the run.

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