Earthquake at Roland Garros: Rafael Nadal, thirteen times crowned on Parisian clay and in search of a 21st record trophy in Grand Slam, was overthrown by world No.1 Novak Djokovic in the semifinals in four sets , 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7/4) 6-2, in 4:11 ‘this Friday.
This is only the Spaniard’s third defeat in 108 matches at Roland Garros. Djokovic, already winner in Paris in 2016, will face the Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final on Sunday and will aim for a 19th Grand Slam title, to return to a length of the record jointly held by Roger Federer and Nadal. Djokovic will also seek to become the first player in the Open era, and only the third in history (after Emerson and Laver), to win at least twice each of the four Grand Slam trophies. What neither Federer nor Nadal did.
Djokovic played “his best tennis” against Nadal
“It’s the biggest game I’ve played here in Paris, also for the atmosphere. The support was incredible for both players, it was fantastic ”, appreciated the Serbian, while a waiver of the curfew was granted to the 5,000 spectators present to stay until the end of the match.
“If you want to beat Rafa on his court, you have to play your best tennis. Tonight was my best tennis, he added. It was a privilege to be on the court with Rafa for this incredible match ”. Djokovic was already one of the only two players to have beaten Nadal at Roland Garros, in 2015 in the quarter-finals, with the Swede Robin Söderling in 2009. He becomes the only one to have succeeded twice.
“I gave everything I had physically and mentally” but “I know I can play better on this court,” said Nadal.
Everything was undoubtedly decided at the end of the third set, which was stretched out for the duration of a football match – 91 minutes precisely -, and which Djokovic ended up snatching from the decisive game, while the Spaniard s ‘was a two-set-to-one ball in the previous game. Nadal had not bowed at Roland Garros for six years. In 2016, he forfeited before his third round match. Djokovic, he had not beaten the Mallorcan on clay since 2016.
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