French Open 2022: Rafael Nadal schools Novak Djokovic to enter semi-finals

In a match that lasted over four hours, the king of clay beat Novak Djokovic in a performance that simply defies logic.

Rafael Nadal after beating Novak Djokovic in Paris. (Image: Twitter/ATP Tour)

Roll back the years with this one. The defending champion Novak Djokovic against the 13-time champion Rafael Nadal in the quarter-final of the 2022 Roland Garros, it does not get any better than that. In a match that lasted over four hours, the king of clay beat Novak Djokovic in a performance that simply defies logic. The score at the end of the match was 6-2, 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (7-4) in the Spaniard’s favour. The reason why it defies logic is simply the fact that for his age, Nadal simply should not have played with the excellence that he did. A few weeks ago, the Spaniard suffered an injury at the Italian Open, yet here he was, playing like he was at the prime of his career. Nadal drew the mistakes from his opponent thanks to his immaculate defence, and that is what made the difference.

Tennis of the highest quality

The first set went Nadal’s way as a number of unforced errors proved to be the world no. 1’s undoing. Although the Spaniard was not at the top of his game, he is still one of the greatest tennis players to have ever lived and he punished Djokovic for the mistakes he did on court. The first set went the Spaniard’s way and it was not a difficult job for the Spaniard. However, Djokovic is also one of the greatest players to have ever lived and he was not going to go away without a fight. The Serbian elevated his game in the second set, and took the fight to his opponent. The fightback was something Nadal might have expected but there was nothing he could do to stop the Serbian from winning the second set and levelling the match.

Many, including the commentators at the Phillipe-Chatrier believed that things were only going to get better for Djoker Nole. Little did they expect Rafa to find his Roland Garros spirit yet again. As the Spaniard took control of the third set, one the commentators quipped, “This is following the same pattern as the 2013 semi-final.” Rafa was on his guard throughout the set, his defence making the difference in the third set as he took a rather comfortable win.

Read More – French Open 2022: Alexander Zverev beats Carlos Alcaraz in a Roland Garros classic

A comeback to remember through the ages

In the opening moments of the fourth set, Djokovic laid down a marker with an absolute peach of a drop shot for which Nadal had no answer. It was the first points-scoring drop shot he executed on the day and he went on to win the game. The Spaniard seemed off his game, at least in the opening moments of the set as Djokovic won the first three games with ease. The king of clay then did the unthinkable. From 5-2 down, the Spaniard brought the game to 6-6 and then went on to beat the defending champion in the tie-break. There is no doubt that the Spaniard is now the favourite to win the Roland Garros for a 14th time.

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