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TENNIS

French Open final suspended until Monday

The men's final at the French Open was suspended because of rain on Sunday.

Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic played into a fourth set through light rain and waited out one weather delay of about 35 minutes, but the action was stopped again because of worsening court conditions and was halted for the day with darkness approaching.

Play will resume at 7 a.m. (et) with Nadal ahead 6-4, 6-3, 2-6, 1-2.

Nadal is trying for his seventh French Open title and third in a row, while Djokovic is playing in the final at Roland Garros for the first time and attempting to win a fourth straight major championship.

Djokovic has beaten Nadal in each of the last three Grand Slam finals and is trying to become the first man to hold each of the four major championships since 1969, when Rod Laver won a natural Grand Slam.

Despite playing through a light drizzle, the first stoppage came with Nadal in front, 6-4, 5-3.

After the delay of just over a half-hour, Nadal came out and broke serve to win the set. Djokovic saved one set point with a service winner, but Nadal ripped a backhand winner to finish it.

Nadal held to start the third set and broke for a 2-0 lead. The super Spaniard had yet to lose a set during the tournament and another straight-set thumping began to appear on the horizon.

Things then changed dramatically, as Djokovic found another gear. He won the next six games to capture the set and did so in rather easy fashion with three breaks of serve.

Djokovic's stunning turnaround continued early in the fourth set with a light rain continuing to fall. He broke Nadal to start, then held at love. Nadal began complaining about the wet balls, even going so far as to gently throw one past the chair umpire.

After Nadal finally stopped the Djokovic eight-game streak with a hold of serve, play was again halted because of the weather.

More than an hour passed before officials decided to call play for the day.

It's the first time the French Open won't end on Sunday since 1973, when Ilie Nastase beat Nikki Pilic. That men's final ended on Tuesday.

Nadal opened Sunday's play with a 3-0 lead thanks to a pair of breaks and was ahead 40-15 in the fourth game. Djokovic quickly regrouped and won the next four points to steal the game and momentum. He followed by winning the next pair to square it, but a double-fault in the following game gave Nadal another break for a 4-3 lead.

After each player held serve, Nadal sealed the opening set in the 10th game. A lengthy rally ended with a brilliant Nadal drop shot to produce a pair of set points at 40-15, but he needed only one as a blistering cross-court winner ended it.

Another Djokovic double-fault gave Nadal the first game of the second set, but the Serb broke back in the fourth game with a perfect lob. Nadal, though, broke again with a forehand winner for a 4-3 lead, and he held serve in the next game before rain stopped play for the first time.

The forecast for Monday isn't much better, with rain showers expected.