Rafael Nadal defeated Novak Djokovic in an epic match that lasted four hours and twelve minutes on Court Philippe Chatrier, keeping him on track to win his 14th French Open and 22nd Grand Slam, Playing your best from the start to the last point is the only way to defeat him. A night of magic for me
Rafael Nadal defeated his old rival Novak Djokovic in a memorable late-night match to get to the French Open semifinals.
The four-hour, 12-minute encounter, which ended at 1.15 am local time, saw the Spaniard defeat the reigning champion and world No. 1 6-2, 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (7-4) in his quest for a record-tying 14th Roland Garros championship.
A really difficult match, Nadal remarked. Playing against Novak, one of the greatest players in history, is always an incredible challenge. Another one occurred today.
Playing your best from the start to the final point is the only way to defeat him. A magical evening for me. A really difficult match, Nadal remarked. Playing against Novak, one of the greatest players in history, is always an incredible challenge. Another one occurred today.
Playing your best from the start to the final point is the only way to defeat him. A magical evening for me. The world No. 1 overcame the 13-time Roland Garros winner in the semi-finals last year, and he arrived in Paris with ailments and a persistent foot issue that hindered his training.
The Spaniard, who has only lost three matches at the French Open since 2005, has previously prevailed in a five-set thriller against Felix Auger Aliassime in the previous round. He is familiar with every square inch of the enormous court that Philippe Chatrier and Djokovic paid for the reminder.
After bursting out of the gate, Nadal delivered some early blows. After winning the first 11 games and taking a set and 3-0 lead with a double break, he had the reigning champion Djokovic on the ropes.
Nadal’s focus waned, though, and Djokovic pulled even before regaining the advantage after winning the second set, which lasted 88 minutes.
The 35-year-old Nadal, though, had refocused and sped away with the third while the momentum looked to be all his. On Djokovic’s serve, Nadal averted two set chances and, after falling down 5-2, tied the fourth set at 5-5.
The June edition of a contest that had begun in May. When the match entered a tie-break, Nadal stormed to a 6-1 lead. Djokovic battled back to make it 6-4, but a backhand winner brought the 59th encounter between these two legends to a thrilling conclusion.
To advance to Sunday’s championship match, third-seeded Alexander Zverev of Germany will now face Nadal. In crucial situations, he was a superior player, in my opinion, according to Djokovic. He had a strong beginning. My start wasn’t the best.
“I was picking up steam and when I managed to win the second set, I realized that I was back in the match. But at the start of the third, he had another two, three tremendous games. Just in them, he was able to elevate his tennis game.
“He demonstrated his strengths as a champion. Maintaining his mental fortitude there and winning the match in the manner he did.