Paris: Novak Djokovic dashed Rafael Nadal’s hopes of winning a record 21st Grand Slam title and his 14th French Open since world No. 1 saw the Spaniard 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(4), 6-2 defeated by The hour-22-minute semi-final that was filled with moments of genius as well as errors.
Nadal, who went into the match with a 105–2 (win–lose) record and a 7–1 record against the Serbs, was the outright favorite to win the match and set up a final clash with Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas. They had lost only one set in this year’s tournament before Friday’s semi-final.
But the shortcomings in his game quickly started showing. The first set, though won by the Spanish world No. 3 by a 6-3 margin, lasted 61 minutes. Nadal saved a few break-points in the first game of the match and then went 5–0 before Djokovic fought to show that he was ready to fight and would not take Nadal’s challenge late.
The Serb, who was also the last player to defeat Nadal at the 2015 French Open in the quarterfinals, took the second set. The seventh game was the heart of the set, the match really, as neither gave up an inch.
Djokovic played some beautiful shots, some cross-court, while he also made some dazzling mistakes. But the game, which lasted more than 10 minutes, saw Nadal hitting the ball off the court on several occasions and was forced to make mistakes. The ninth game also dragged on for a long time and the Serb sealed it. He won the set 6-3.
The third set, which saw heavy duty and sparse tennis, went into a tie-breaker after Djokovic broke a tired-looking Nadal in the fifth game. Nadal made a comeback in the sixth game.
The top seed continued the see-saw fight before sealing the set 7-4 in the tie-break and took a 2-1 lead after three sets.
Nadal broke Djokovic in the fourth set but then the Serb won the last six games to reach the final against Tsitsipas.
Djokovic won 64 percent on his first serve and 55 percent on his second serve, with Nadal winning 59 percent on the first and 49 percent on the second. The Serb converted eight of the 22 break-points against Nadal’s six of 16.
The biggest difference though was the double fault. Nadal did eight of them against Djokovic’s three.
Between 2005, when he won his first French Open and 2020, when he won his last of 13, Nadal had not won the title at Roland Garros on only three occasions – in 2009, when he lost to Robin Soderling in the fourth round. Were; In 2015, when he lost to Djokovic in the quarterfinals and in 2016 when he had to crash out of the third round due to injury.