Defending champion Rafa Nadal of Spain levelled the French open final against Serbian second seed Novak Djokovic on Sunday when he took the second set 7-5. Djokovic, looking to complete a career grand slam in Paris, won the opening set 6-3 but Nadal, who is hoping to win a record extending ninth Roland Garros title, stepped up a gear in the second.
Both players started strongly on their service games until Djokovic moved 40-15 up on Nadal's serve in the eighth game. Nadal, who had trouble finding his range, saved the two break points with a forehand winner down the line and a big first serve but misfired on the third.
The claycourt master had two break points in the ninth but fluffed a forehand on the first and sent another long on the second as Djokovic held to take the first set when Nadal failed to return a booming forehand. Nadal set up a break point in the sixth game of the second set and thought he had won it with a backhand, only for umpire Pascal Maria to overrule the linesperson and award the point to Djokovic.
He had another chance and there was no contest this time as Djokovic returned Nadal's forehand into the net, but the Serb broke straight back when his opponent's forehand sailed long. Djokovic saved another break point in the eighth game but the momentum had shifted Nadal's way and the man from Mallorca took the set on the world number two's serve with a forehand winner.
(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Alan Baldwin)