Top seed Rafael Nadal beat second seed Novak Djokovic of Serbia in four sets to win the 2014 French Open men's singles title. Catch highlights here:
22:31 (IST): Nadal looks at the Spanish flag with absolute contentment and pride as Spain's national anthem is played. He turned 28 just five days ago! "Novak, it's always a pleasure and a big challenge to play against you. Congratulations. All the things that I have done to be here have been possible because of the great crowd", says Nadal.
22:28 (IST): Novak Djokovic is in a state of tears and he receives a huge, loud cheer from the crowd, emotional scenes. Standing ovation for the great man from Serbia! He says he will do everything to come back into the French Open and win it at least once, and he will keep on doing that till he holds the trophy up high.
22:16 (IST): Top seed Rafael Nadal beats 2nd seed Novak Djokovic 3-6, 7-5, 6-2, 6-4 to win his 9th Roland Garros title. This is also his 14th career Grand Slam title and he has now gone on par with Pete Sampras. Roger Federer leads the tally with 17 major wins.
22:09 (IST): Nadal holds to force Djokovic to serve to stay in the match and the championship at 4-5, fourth set! Crucial times ahead for Djokovic! It's getting a little overcast now at Court Philippe Chatrier. Rafa would have liked the hot and dry type of weather to continue for his spin to be more lethal.
22:03 (IST): Djokovic consolidates his break of serve and it's now 4-4 in the fourth set. (6-3, 5-7, 2-6, 4-4). Djokovic is on his toes now! He knows this next game is crucial! The crowd is chanting 'Novak, Novak' once again! But as soon as we speak Nadal produces a wonderful forehand winner on Djokovic's backhand side and it's 15-15. That's another forehand winner from Nadal, this time it's on Djokovic's forehand side and almost down-the-line. 30-15. Oh then, Nadal hits it straight into the net after a long baseline exchange. 30-30.
21:58 (IST): First break for Djokovic since the second set! He now gets it back on serve at 3-4 in the fourth set! Remember the back issue that led Nadal to lose the Australian Open final to Stanislas Wawrinka earlier this year? It's flaring up again!
21:52 (IST): Nadal gets another break at the right time! He leads 4-2 now in this fourth set and by two sets to one. This is getting sad now for Djokovic. He lost out to Nadal last year in the semifinals and in the final in 2012, while still looking for his first French Open title win. And suddenly Nadal drops to 15-30 in his next service game. The crowd is chanting 'Novak, Novak' loudly. 15-40 now!
21:44 (IST): A wild swing from Djokovic goes out as Nadal increases his lead to 3-2 in fourth set, still very much on serve. However, every game that goes Nadal's way means he is creeping ever close to that Roland Garros trophy! And he has won it eight times already, which is more than anyone has ever got at a single Grand Slam. Roger Federer has seven Wimbledon trophies and he is second in that list.
21:41 (IST): Nadal misses despite having the open court to himself and Djokovic ties it up at 2-2 in the fourth set. The last time Djokovic won after coming back from a two sets to one deficit was in the 2013 US Open, when he beat Stanislas Wawrinka 2-6 7-6 3-6 6-3 6-4.
21:35 (IST): Nadal leads 2-1 and by two sets to one. Djokovic is still hanging tight in this men's singles final. And there comes another heavy top spin forehand winner from Nadal. Djokovic looks tired and he doesn't make a move. 0-15. Net serve and then first fault.
21:31 (IST): Djokovic serves an ace and it's 1-1 now in the fourth set. Nadal in a bit of a bother here at 15-30 in his next service game. Are we going to see a shift in the momentum? Can Djokovic get a break?
21:28 (IST): Nadal starts things in the fourth set by holding to love. He leads 1-0 and by two sets to one. (3-6, 7-5, 6-2, 1-0). Nadal is the master now in this final encounter. Whether it be cross-court backhand winners, down-the-line backhand drives, his heavy top spin baseline returns, they are all going in and troubling Djokovic beyond doubt. Nadal has been relentless right after losing that opening set.
21:21 (IST): Nadal takes the third set 6-2 vs Djokovic and now leads by two sets to one. Djokovic can't lose a set now if he has to stay in this match. Nadal has just been too good after losing that first set. He saved all his two break points during this third set while Djokovic lost both break points.
21:11 (IST): Nadal holds on and forces Djokovic to serve to stay in the third set at 2-5. Nadal looking for a 2-1 lead. That last game took almost 10 minutes! There were five deuces in it! Djokovic doesn't want to give up on his chance of winning his maiden French Open title. But then Rafa is Rafa, the King of Clay. He wants to book a place in the history books forever. If Nadal wins today, it will be his 9th French Open title and his 14th Grand Slam, making him go on par with Pete Sampras!
21:02 (IST): Djokovic holds on for the time being and reduces Nadal's lead to 4-2 in the third set (6-3, 5-7, 2-4). And Nadal now zooms ahead to a 30-0 lead in his next service game. His serves are one of the best on clay and he is putting enough kick and bounce on them while placing them wide out, away from Djokovic's normal reach.
20:58 (IST): Nadal increases his lead to 4-1 in the third set now as he fights off deuce to hold serve (3-6, 7-5, 4-1). Djokovic is getting a lot more unforced errors now and this is clearly not working to his advantage. He is doing the right thing though because Nadal is just way too consistent from the baseline and his top spin forehands are menacing.
20:50 (IST): Djokovic gets on the board in the third set as Nadal lets one go. Nadal leads 3-1. Well, it's all Rafa's territory now for the time being! He is showing Djokovic how he owns Roland Garros! Djokovic is happy to stay in the game. He can take his chances later or as and when Nadal provides an opportunity.
20:45 (IST): Exactly two hours on court now between these two players as Nadal holds to love to take a 3-0 lead in this 3rd set. Nadal has won five games in a row now. Djokovic is losing his balance!
20:42 (IST): Nadal breaks Djokovic! He now takes a crucial 2-0 lead in this third set. Nadal is playing a very physical game here. He is striking the ball cleanly and each stroke of his is making a thumping sound as the racquet hits the ball. Wonderful tennis! Djokovic sent an easy volley straight into the net in his last point and it is clearly showing who is on the top as far as the mental attitude is concerned. It's Nadal!
20:38 (IST): Djokovic's backhand goes wide and Nadal opens up the third set by holding serve. Leads 1-0 (3-6, 7-5, 1-0). Djokovic just manages to get out of jail on the second point of his next service game as he runs ahead to dispatch Nadal's drop volley for a perfect cross-court drop shot. 15-15.
20:30 (IST): Nadal wins the second set 7-5 vs Djokovic. It's one set all now in this exciting men's singles final. Both players made two double faults each but Nadal's first serve win percentage of 80 percent was just way too superior compared to Djokovic's 69 percent. Djokovic just won 31 percent of his second serve points while Nadal won 50 percent. Huge difference now!
20:25 (IST): Djokovic will once again serve to stay in the second set at 5-6 as Nadal holds. (6-3, 5-6). The sun is shining bright and clear at Court Philippe Chatrier and the crowd is now switching to Rafa's side. They want a comeback and that too, right now!
20:22 (IST): Djokovic holds serve from a dangerous position and ties it up at 5-5 in the second set. (6-3, 5-5). In turn, Rafael Nadal quickly moves ahead to a 40-0 lead. Looks like, Djokovic will be under pressure once again on serve.
20:16 (IST): Nadal holds serve and forces Djokovic to serve to stay in the second set at 4-5! Nadal steps gears and he has every answer to Djokovic's cross-court backhand drives now. He slaps one right down the line for a winner. 15-15.
20:13 (IST): Djokovic consolidates his break of serve and ties it up at 4-4 in the second set vs Nadal. (6-3, 4-4). Nadal steps up in his next service game and lands a great down-the-line backhand winner, perfectly away from Djokovic's reach. 15-0.
20:06 (IST): Djokovic breaks Nadal right back! We are back on serve in the second set at 3-4. Djokovic leads by a set to love. (6-3, 3-4). This is a dream final! No player is letting the other run away with this! Everyone, cancel all your appointments for the next 3-4 hours because by the look of it, this is going to be another marathon affair.
20:01 (IST): This time it is Nadal who gets the crucial break first. He leads 4-2 in the second set (3-6, 4-2). A long tough baseline battle ends in Nadal being on top. There were just two deuces in that game but every rally seemed to take an year. Nadal is now getting bolder in his approach. He is also hitting those inside-out forehands that are finding the corners of the baseline.
19:52 (IST): Nadal moves ahead with a 3-2 lead now in the second set. Both players are holding serve very quickly. 23 minutes into this second set now, the first one took 44 minutes. Can Nadal get the vital break?
19:48 (IST): Nadal's forehand goes into the net and Djokovic ties it up at 2-2 in the second set. Djokovic leads by a set. Is Nadal having a problem with his movement here? He is not as quick as he is used to be. Or maybe, he is still a bit rattled after losing the opening set. His body seems fine.
19:44 (IST): Nadal takes a 2-1 lead in the second set. It's still on serve though. (3-6, 2-1). Djokovic misses his backhand down-the-line winner attempt on Nadal's backhand side in his next service game and it's 15-15.
19:39 (IST): Djokovic keeps it on serve at 1-1. Nadal didn't even move on the last point after Djokovic's winner. Once again, it was a perfectly placed down-the-line forehand winner from Djokovic and he is getting even better at them! Nadal knows there is no point trying to rescue them because Djokovic would be waiting to smash it beyond him through the volley on the counter.
19:36 (IST): Nadal steadies himself and holds serve to take a 1-0 lead in the second set vs Djokovic. He still trails one set to love though. (3-6, 1-0). After all the slugfest in the first set, Nadal has now shifted gears and taken a more confident approach. He is going for his shots and hoping for the best. It's helping him for the time being.
19:29 (IST): Djokovic takes the first set 6-3 vs Nadal after 44 minutes on the match clock! Great rescue skills there from Djokovic as he won four points in a row after being down 15-40. And great courage too! Djokovic went for his shots despite the danger lying ahead as Nadal was forced to hit the ball wide. Djokovic has won 85 percent of his first serve points while Nadal has won just 67 percent. Nadal has been a touch better in the second serve win percentage though. However, that's not important as long as Djokovic continues to fire those first serves in most of the time.
19:22 (IST): Djokovic breaks Nadal! He will serve for first set at 5-3 now. Every shot of this match has been perfect! Nadal did well initially to come back from 15-40 to deuce but then Djokovic came up with a trademark down-the-line winner on Nadal's forehand side that was placed perfectly away from the Spaniard. As Nadal went wide on the next point, fans at Court Philippe Chatrier rejoiced and started with their 'Novak, Novak' chants once again. Breathtaking!
19:15 (IST): Djokovic just marginally holds on and leads 4-3 in the 1st set. We are still very much on serve though. Can't choose from either one of these as of now. Nadal has now started to move a lot better on the baseline and he is covering every ball, making Djokovic go for that extra shot. Nice shift of strategy while Djokovic tries to be the aggressor.
19:09 (IST): Quite a superb final! Nadal holds now and we are still on serve at 3-3 in the 1st set. The crowd is zooming with energy. They want a great final! Djokovic is setting points up nicely, he is the one who is more patient out of the two but then Nadal's game plan of being aggressive is not bad either.
19:04 (IST): Djokovic holds on and now leads 3-2 in the first set. Nadal is now finding the open court well and getting big winners on each opportunity. Djokovic, however, has great defensive skills and will not be bogged down by that. The only thing he can't seem to tackle right now is Nadal's heavy top spin. You have to see to believe how much spin he is putting in each forehand. Incredible!
19:00 (IST): Nadal holds on to keep it on serve at 2-2 in this first set. The rallies are getting longer! Nadal is increasing the tempo slowly but surely. He is accelerating through the ball and his every forehand is now much heavier, laced with fierce top spin.
18:54 (IST): Djokovic takes a 2-1 lead in the first set. We just saw a 21-stroke rally, long baseline battle. Want to know about the key battles you should look out for in this great final? Visit this page.
18:50 (IST): Nadal holds serve to love; ties it up at 1-1 in the first set vs Djokovic. Nadal's weapon lies in putting the ball at his opponent's shoulder height using his big spin and Djokovic is not able to control the ball from there. Interesting battle!
18:47 (IST): Djokovic holds serve after losing just one point to open up this big final vs Nadal. Leads 1-0, 1st set. Djokovic's plan is quite visible. He wants to keep attacking as much as possible and take the ball early. He is not letting Nadal attack from the baseline with his big top spin forehand.
18:34 (IST): A short period of silence for the martyrs of World War 1. Both players take their positions and are almost ready for the toss and the warm-up. Are you ready for a thriller final? Djokovic won the last time these two played each other, in the 2014 Rome Open final recently. He won 4-6, 6-3, 6-3.
18:31 (IST): Today's winner will not just take home 1.65 million euros as the prize money for this wonderful French Open tournament but also the World No.1 ranking, when the new listings are announced on Monday.
18:15 (IST): Just about 15 minutes to go before players make their way into Court Philippe Chatrier for this grand finale! Djokovic will walk in first, followed by top seed Rafael Nadal. We will bring you all the updates here.
17:33 (IST): Nadal is ahead with 22 wins compared to Djokovic's 19 if we look at the head-to-head record between these two finalists. However, Djokovic has perhaps been the only guy to have seriously challenged Nadal's dominance on clay in the recent past. Djokovic was the favourite to win the 2014 French Open before it started but with the way Nadal dispatched Murray in the semifinals on Friday, the odds have shifted a little.
17:05 (IST): The official broadcast time for this mouth-watering final is at 6:30 pm IST. With both Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in menacing form, this promises to be a thriller. Just like yesterday's women's singles final. Missed it? Don't worry, you can catch all the highlights here.
Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic clash for a 42nd time on Sunday with the French Open title and a place in the record books at stake. World number one Nadal hopes to wrap up a ninth triumph in nine finals in Paris and take his record to 66 wins and just one defeat.
Victory would also make the 28-year-old the first man to win Roland Garros five years in a row and give him a 14th Grand Slam title, just three behind the record of 17 held by Roger Federer who is nearly five years older.
Djokovic, who has six majors to his name, needs a Roland Garros trophy to become just the eighth man in history to have won all four Grand Slam events. The momentum, however, appears to be with Nadal who allowed Wimbledon champion Andy Murray just six games in a brutal semi-final demolition on Friday. (Read more)
Rafael Nadal Not Unbeatable, Says Novak Djokovic Ahead of Big Final
Novak Djokovic will on Sunday, attempt to become only the second man to beat eight-time champion Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros when the world's two best players meet in the French Open final.
Djokovic, who has six majors to his name, needs a Paris trophy to become just the eighth man in history to have won all four Grand Slam events. He also has the advantage of having defeated Nadal in their last four meetings, including on clay in the Rome Masters final last month.
Djokovic was defeated by Nadal in the 2012 final in Paris but came desperately close to beating him in the semi-finals in 2013 when he led 4-2 in the final set. "Knowing that I was that close to win against him the past two years gives me that reason to believe that I can make it this time. He's not unbeatable," says Djokovic. (Read more)
How Djokovic and Nadal Made the Final
Eight-time champion Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, who needs a Roland Garros title to complete a career Grand Slam, will clash in Sunday's French Open final after racking up convincing semi-final wins on Friday.
World number one Nadal cruised to a 6-3, 6-2, 6-1 win against Wimbledon champion and seventh seed Andy Murray to register his 65th win on the red clay of Paris against just one defeat as he moved one victory away from becoming the first man to win five successive French Opens.
Sunday will be the 28-year-old Spaniard's 20th Grand Slam final. Djokovic, the world number two and runner-up to Nadal in the 2012 championship match, went through to his 13th major final thanks to a 6-3, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 win over Latvian giantkiller Ernests Gulbis Of Latvia.
Nadal could wrap up a 14th Grand Slam title which would put him level at second best on the all-time list with Pete Sampras and three behind Roger Federer while Djokovic will be chasing his seventh major.