Novak Djokovic ended Rafael Nadal’s unbeaten record in matches beyond the semi-finals
at the French Open as he inflicted just the third defeat of the Spaniard’s career at
Djokovic, the world No. 1 from Serbia, avenged a one-sided French Open final defeat
at this postponed event last October to halt Nadal’s 26-match unbeaten run in semi-
finals and finals on the clay courts of Paris with a 3-6 6-3 7-6 (7-4) 6-2.
This will go down as one of the most impressive wins of Djokovic’s stellar career and
he will have an opportunity to move within one major title of his greatest rivals Roger
Federer and Nadal, should he beat Stefanos Tsitsipas in Sunday’s final.
Tsitsipas had earlier beaten Alexander Zverev in five sets but the quality was nowhere
close to what would follow on Philippe Chatrier on Friday night.
In well over four hours of extraordinary tennis, it was the uber flexible Serb who came
up with the goods, relentlessly pressuring the Nadal serve and redirecting the Spanish
world No. 3’s immense power and spin with effortless brilliance.
Djokovic has been comfortably the world’s best player for the past decade but Nadal –
who was struggling with a foot problem by the end – has been the immovable force in
Paris – although Djokovic was one of two men, along with Robin Soderling who had
beaten him prior to this event.
And he used every ounce of his experience and quality to give himself a shot at a 19th
Grand Slam title this weekend.
Should Djokovic beat Tsitsipas, the fifth seed from Greece, he will become the only man
in the Open Era to have won every Grand Slam event twice or more. Having already won
the Australian Open this season, he will remain on for a Calendar Grand Slam – where all
four majors are won by one man in the same year.