French Open 2012
The undisputed King of Clay battled to a 6-4, 6-3, 2-6, 7-5 win over Novak Djokovic in the French Open final. It was the fourth straight Grand Slam final the two faced off in, and Nadal moved to an astonishing 52-1 at the French Open. With his seventh title, Nadal moved past Bjorn Borg to take sole possession of the record for most French Open titles. Here's a look at some photos from 2012's second Grand Slam event.
Self-described as a "Cow on ice" when she plays on clay, No. 2-ranked Sharapova was one of the hottest players on the dirt coming into the French Open. Eight years since winning her first major, Sharapova's form continued right through the final, where she dropped Sara Errani 6-3, 6-2 to win the title and complete the career Grand Slam. Sharapova is now No. 1 for the first time since 2008 and grabbed her first major title in four years.
In his first trip to the French Open final, Djokovic struggled to get momentum going as rain caused several delays in the action. After losing the first two sets to Nadal, the two were sent back to the locker room for a half hour break for the rain to clear. Djokovic began mounting a comeback when play resumed, but the rain picked up again and the final was pushed to a Monday finish. Nadal came out firing and Djokovic fell short complete the "Novak Slam" -- holding all four Grand Slam titles, a feat last accomplished by Rod Laver in 1969.
Errani will be rewarded for reaching her first career Grand Slam final by cracking the top 10 in the rankings for the first time in her career. She had trouble with Sharapova's power in the final, and couldn't get enough kick on her serve to pressure the new No. 1.
It wasn't the usual smooth-sailing for the Swiss Maestro in the early rounds. Federer dropped sets to Adrian Ungur, Nicolas Mahut and David Goffin, all matches he should have won in straight sets. Then in the quarters, Federer lost the first two sets to Juan Martin del Potro. Federer came back to win the match, the seventh time he's come back from a two-set deficit to win, but he failed to get any momentum against Djokovic in the semis.
Kvitova's year has been hampered by injuries. Coming into 2012, she was considered a likely candidate to plant herself atop the rankings. The world No. 4 had a tough road to the semis, where she lost to Maria Sharapova.
You can never rule out the workmanlike Ferrer, unless, that is, he's taking on the best player in French Open history. The Spaniard quietly blitzed his way into the semifinals, dropping just one set along the way. But Nadal was simply too strong, ousting his countryman 6-2, 6-2, 6-1.
For the first time in her career, Serena lost in the first round of a Grand Slam event. No. 111 Virginie Razzano stunned the 13-time Grand Slam champion in three sets. Serena also lost in the first round of mixed doubles with partner Bob Bryan.
The only American man in the draw with a Grand Slam title took an early exit, losing to Wimbledon marathon man Nicolas Mahut 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 in the first round.
The WTA No. 1 dropped her first set of the tournament, and looked shaky and frustrated in her early matches. In one of the biggest upsets of the tournament, Azarenka fell to Dominika Cibulkova in the fourth round.
Rain, Rain, Go Away
Part of the men's quarterfinals were delayed for rain and the women's semifinals were started late due to a flash rain storm. The court was covered with a tarp, squeegeed and play was able to start shortly after the rain let up. Stellar work from the ground crew.
Murray almost had to pull out of the tournament after having severe back pains during his second-round match against Jarkko Nieminen. He went on to win the match, but fell short against David Ferrer in the quarters.
The former world No. 1 dropped to No. 9 in the rankings coming into the French Open. Wozniacki was under the radar a little more in Paris, picking up some comfortable wins in the first two rounds. But after battling back to force a second set tiebreak, she lost to Kaia Kanepi in the third round amid controversy with the chair ump .
Venus made it farther than little sister Serena, but not by much. She needed three sets to get by Paula Ormaechea in the first round, then was ousted by Agnieszka Radwanska in the second.
The taller half of the Wimbledon marathon found himself in a similar situation at Roland Garros. In a second-round match against Paul-Henri Mathieu, Isner lost 18-16 in the final set in a five-hour, 41-minute half-marathon (well, half by his standards at least).
Since winning the French Open in 2009, Kuznetsova has made the quarters of a Slam just once. The 28th-ranked Russian hadn't dropped a set going into the fourth round, including steamrolling No. 3 Agnieszka Radwanska. But Kuznetsova's campaign was halted by Sara Errani in the fourth round.
The 2008 French Open champ blitzed through the first two rounds, but then met a streaking Sara Errani in the third. Ivanovic looked to be cruising, winning the first set 6-1, but then her second serve failed her and the unforced errors started creeping up and Ivanovic lost the next two sets.
Nadal turned 26 on the middle Sunday, and celebrated on Monday with some cake and a 6-2, 6-0, 6-0 rout of Juan Monaco. Feliz cumpleaños, Rafa.
The local favorite pushed the world No. 1 to five sets in the quarters, but ultimately fell flat. The Frenchman failed to capitalize on four match points. On the positive side, that's a great mean-mug you got there, Jo.
The No. 31-ranked Youzhny felt so bad for his poor performance against David Ferrer in the third round, he etched an apology to friends and fans in the clay. "There was a lot of people. That's why I write 'sorry.' Because I can't show them a nice game," Youzhny said. "The way we played in the beginning, it was not really interesting for people."
The 19-year-old American was the last teenager standing in the women's draw, and one of just two Americans to make it to the fourth round, where she lost to Sam Stosur.
Juan Martin del Potro
The last player outside the Big Three to win a Grand Slam, Del Potro took a good swing at knocking out Roger Federer in the quarters. The big-serving Argentine took the first two sets before running out of gas and losing in five sets.
In a match that stretched over two days, Wawrinka lost to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the fourth round. After a wipeout on the red clay, Wawrinka tried to play a ball from the dirt, without his racket. It didn't work out well for him.