In the cool and heavy conditions Rafa ripped his forehand from the first point, quickly finding triple break point. On his fourth break point Nadal converted. Vicious forehand down the line winners gave Rafa two more break points in the third game and ultimately a 3-0 lead as Djokovic repeatedly miss-fired off both wings.
As Nadal started to spray a few errors Novak broke back to get on the scoreboard at 1-3. Seemingly awoken by winning a game Novak found his ground strokes and forced his way back to 3-3 while Rafa struggled to stay on the baseline and find range on his shots.
While Rafa’s stressed friends Pau Gasol and Carlos Moya looked on the Spaniard struggled to convert opportunities but was aided by a double fault from his opponent to get him back in front at 4-3.
Eventually, after a strange set and almost an hour of play, Nadal took the first set 6-4.
As Nadal struggled to find depth on his shots and Djokovic hit with too much length, Rafa had two chances to break in the opening service game of the second set. Nole handed it over with another poorly timed double fault.
One of the more impressive shots of the match was Djokovic’s lob which repeatedly found it’s mark, either winning the point or getting him back into the point. The lob let Nole break back for 2-2.
Rain continued to sprinkle as the new balls gave Rafa the edge he needed to break for 4-3. Djokovic’s chair suddenly had a huge hole in it as the Serb released his rage and frustration at the change of ends much to the disgust of the crowd.
Before Djokovic had a chance to serve to stay alive in the second set play was suspended and his smashed chair was quickly replaced.
Djokovic still looked frustrated after the rain delay and Nadal quickly took a a two sets to love lead with the advantage of serving first in the third.
Initially Nadal lead 2-0 but some delayed brilliance from Nole got him back in the mix with a two breaks and a 5-2 lead. As we have seen many times in the last 18 months Novak exposed the backhand of Nadal as the Spaniard struggled to create his normal spin on the heavy balls.
At the change of ends Nadal complained to the umpire that the conditions were too heavy and slippery.
Impressively Novak came back from extreme frustration of the first two sets to inflict the same on Rafa as he took seven consecutive games from the defending champion and the third set 6-2 and a break in the fourth.
Completely rattled Nadal showed the entire world the full extent of the mental damage Djokovic inflicted with his seven consecutive wins over the Spaniard.
The heavier the conditions became the less pop Nadal got on his shots and the more irritated he became. The heavier it got the more Novak started slipping and the two stopped sliding as freely, giving Nole the clear advantage and he flattened the ball out and smashed it from side to side .
Every time Nadal ran around his backhand he was punished. The ball got heavier and wetter and instead of kicking up it bounced right into Novak’s hitting zone much the same way it did when Rafa lost to Robin Soderling in 2009.
Novak took eight consecutive games before Nadal could hold serve and then finally play was suspended again.
Both players were in agreement that the conditions were too slippery but Nadal ripped into the tournament referee for not making the decision earlier and compromising their safety and the match.
As it stands play will resume 1pm Monday Paris time.