2012 French Open Championship Match Oddsand Picks: Rafael Nadal vs Novak Djokovic: History is on the line in the French Open title match Sunday when top-ranked Novak Djokovic faces second-ranked Rafael Nadal. With a win, Djokovic can become the first player in 43 years to win all four major tournaments in succession, completing a career Grand Slam in the process. Meanwhile, Nadal is trying to break a tie with Bjorn Borg and win the French Open for a record-setting seventh time. The two players are currently the juggernauts of the tennis world, and another epic battle could be on tap.
2012 French Open Championship Odds and Free Picks
Based on the numbers, something has to give Sunday. Djokovic has won 27 straight matches at major tournaments. His winning streak includes victories over Nadal in the championship match at Wimbledon, the U.S. Open and the Australian Open. Djokovic has owned his biggest rival on the biggest stages recently, but on the clay surface of Roland Garros, Nadal has owned everyone. He is an incredible 51-1 in French Open matches in his career. Nadal has also defeated Djokovic in two clay court tournaments earlier this year, and I’m sure there is nothing he would love more than to win an 11th major championship and prevent his rival from making history in the process.
Entering the championship match, there is no question that Nadal will be the more rested of the two. He has steamrolled through the field and has yet to lose a single set. Djokovic, on the other hand, needed two come-from-behind, five-set thrillers just to reach the semifinals. Even though he breezed by third-ranked Roger Federer in straight sets to reach the title match, there are a lot more miles on Djokovic’s legs than on Nadal’s. Granted, the chance to win four straight Grand Slam titles is likely to combat any fatigue, but Djokovic could have trouble keeping pace if Sunday’s match becomes a grueling, five-set affair similar to his Australian Open title match with Nadal earlier this year.
In addition to the chance to set a record for the most French Open wins, Sunday’s title match gives Nadal an opportunity to regain some of the confidence he seems to have lost against Djokovic. When facing Djokovic, Nadal has begun to show the same defeated body language and frustration that Federer has shown in his repeated failures against Nadal. There is no better place for Nadal to regain his confidence and swagger against “The Joker” than on the clay courts of Roland Garros. As dominant as he has been at the French Open, it might as well be Nadal’s home court.
The biggest question facing Djokovic is whether or not he can break Nadal’s serve. It has happened once thus far, as he has won 71 of his 72 service games. If Djokovic is going to out any kind of pressure on Nadal and make a realistic push for the upset, he has to be able to capitalize on any break point opportunities that come his way. His aggressive playing style should help his cause, but it will also leave him vulnerable to Nadal’s equally aggressive tactics. Djokovic will have to pick his spots perfectly to derail Nadal.
At the end of the day, this is Nadal’s match to lose. As evidenced by his trip to the title match, Djokovic is improving on clay. However, he is by no means one the master of the surface that Nadal is. The six-time French Open champ may have trouble getting by Djokovic without losing a set, unless he is truly intimidated by his recent losses in major finals, Nadal should get some revenge Sunday. Djokovic’s natural talent and hustle will prevent him from being embarrassed, but Nadal is just the better clay court player in this matchup.
Prediction: Rafael Nadal Wins in 4 Sets
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