Here's how Sunday's final panned out and the implications of this result ahead of Roland Garros:
The Serb was unperturbed though, having already dropped sets to Kohlschreiber, Ferrer and Raonic en route to this afternoon's final, and he struck back, letting out a trademark roar as he broke in Nadal's first service game of the middle set to establish an early lead. Djokovic appeared to take issue with the behaviour of some of the crowd when he was broken back three games later, but he rallied, forged another break, and went on to level the tie with a 6-3 second set.
With two gladiators on court to whom momentum usually counts for an awful lot, it was no surprise that Novak went on to secure another early break in the decider. As in the second set, Nadal struck back, but he just didn't have enough to keep Djokovic at bay, as the Indian Wells and Miami champion secured two more breaks of the Spaniard's serve in the closing stages to secure his third Masters 1000 title of 2014. By the end of the tie, the second seed had hit an astonishing 46 winners past the greatest clay court player of all time, and halted the momentum of his main rival for the French Open title in the process. Not a bad afternoon's work.
With everyone now turning their attention towards the French, I feel that the result of this match was always going to be huge. If Rafa had managed to secure the win, he would have been able to put his tricky clay season behind him, taking the momentum of back to back Masters 1000 titles and a win over his main Roland Garros rival to Paris. However, now, the doubts are bound to return, he has won one of the four titles available to him since Miami, and that was one that was seemingly out of his grasp before Kei Nishikori's back injury granted the world number one a reprieve in the final of Madrid. I will be running an article tomorrow analysing Nadal's chances of going into the French Open as favourite in more depth.
As for Novak Djokovic, he'll be feeling very good about his tennis right now. He certainly would have already completed his career Grand Slam by now if it wasn't for an unstoppable Rafa on the Philippe Chatrier court, and the King of Clay is showing more vulnerabilities on that surface now than ever before. With such a good performance today, Djokovic will have no shortage of tennis fans backing him to take his first French Open crown by the middle of June.
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