World No.1 Novak Djokovic defeated defending champion Rafael Nadal in four sets to make it to the finals of the French Open. The 34 year old Serb defeated Nadal 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (4), 6-2. The match lasted over 4 hours. The epic battle lasted for 4 hours and 11 minutes, to be precise, with Djokovic bringing an end to Nadal’s reign at Roland Garros. He will play Stefanos Tsitsipas who defeated Alexander Zeverv in a five-set thriller.
“The first thing I want to say is it was my privilege also to be on the court with Rafa for this incredible match. It is surely the greatest match I have played here in Paris. It’s also the match with the best atmosphere and ambiance and energy,” Djokovic said in a post-match.
After the loss, a heartbroken Nadal admitted that he gave in his best, but one has to accept that ‘sometimes you win, and sometimes you lose.’ “But if you want to win, you can’t make these mistakes. So that’s it. Well done for him. [It was] a good fight out there. I tried my best, and today was not my day,” Nadal said.
Nadal reckoned he had a chance when he had set point in the third set but squandered it. The Spaniard felt had that gone his way then things could have been different. “I had a big chance with setpoint, 6-5, second serve [in the third set]. That’s it. Anything could happen at that moment. Then I made a double fault, [missed an] easy volley in the tie-break. But it’s true that [there were] crazy points out there. The fatigue is there, too. These kinds of mistakes can happen,” Nadal said.
Nadal won the opening set 6-3 but Djokovic came back in the second with the same margin. The third set entered the tie-breaker but Djokovic held his ground to win straight sets. Rafa lost his fuel in the final set as the Serbian clinched it 6-2.
Novak Djokovic also ended Rafael Nadal’s hopes of a 14th FrenchOpen final. The Serbian could also become the first man since Rod Laver to win two grand slam titles in four majors including French Open.
Djokovic will face Tsitsipas, the 22-year-old from Greece, who defeated Alexander Zverev 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 4-6, 6-3.
As expected, it was a tightly contested game and the stats say the same story. Zverev scored 11 aces while Tsitsipas scored eight. However, the German also conceded seven double points whereas the Greek conceded only three. Their win percentage on the first serve was identical at 74%. However, it was Tsitsipas who held the higher second serve win percentage at 59% while Zverev had 49%.
The German managed to score three out of six break points whereas Tsitsipas scored five out of 14. The latter also won more service games (21) than the German (18). This match was a game of comebacks. In the beginning, it seemed like Tsitsipas was sure to go through to the final. He had found his rhythm early on and it was getting difficult for the German to back his opponent into a corner.