Novak Djokovic Defeats Rafael Nadal In A Thrilling Encounter, Set To Face Stefanos Tsitsipas In The Final


World number one Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal put on a masterclass performance at the Roland Garros in an all-time claascl encounter, as they met for the second consecutive year. 

Djokovic came out on top in four sets that lasted four hours and 11 minute, winning 3-6 6-3 7-6 6-2 against Nadal in the semi-final, which will be regarged as among the all-time great matches on the Roland Garros clay.

Both Djokovic and Nadal were in the hunt to end their careers with the most Grand Slam titles to their names which saw them traded breathtaking shots and winners.

Djokovic came up with 50 winners, while Nadal committed 55 unforced errors as he visibly struggled physically in the match's closing stages.

The Serbian top seed Djokovic, had lost to the 13-time champion in Paris last year and the pair played some absurdly good shots during their huge French Open clash.

It is only the third time in 108 matches Nadal has ever lost at Roland Garros, the Spaniard was beaten on his favourite court, having earlier raced into a 5-0 (6-3) lead in the first set, Djokovic regrouped and went on to deliver a tennis masterclass, surely one of the toughest tasks in sports.

Nonetheless Djokovic who won the French Open once in 2016, thoroughly deserved his win on Philippe-Chatrier, a court Nadal has often looked invincible on.

Djokovic's victory extended his advantage in the head-to-head with Nadal, having claimed his 30th win in their men's record 58th meeting.

He became the first player to beat the 35-year-old (King of Clay) twice on the Roland Garros clay, also beating him in the 2015 quarter-final.

"Probably it was not my best day today, even if I fought," said Nadal who was eyeing a record-extending 14th title.

"I had the big chance with set point at 6-5 on his second serve. That's it. Anything could happen in that moment.

"Then I make a double-fault and missed an easy volley in the tie-break.

"These kind of mistakes can happen. But if you want to win, you can't make these mistakes."

"Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. I had a big chance. There were some crazy points but there was fatigue there."

The 5,000 Fans who were lucky be in attendance cheered wildly as they were allowed to stay for the entirety of the match, despite the semifinal exceeding France's 11pm curfew as part of its coronavirus restrictions

Spectators were forced to leave Roland Garros even mid-match, before an announcement was made by a French Open official in the 93rd minute when Djokovic clinched an epic third set tie-break, stating that public authorities had agreed to let spectators stay to it's conclusion.

Tension was high on the court and in the stands, as fans regularly leapt to their feet for standing ovations and chanted the names of both players.

British former world number one Andy Murray was among the stars lauding the match, prompting him to describ the contest between Nadal and Djokovic on twitter as "Perfect, You can't just play better than this."

Djokovic '34' must now recover to take on Stefanos Tsitsipas, who earlier reached his first Grand Slam final - and made history by becoming Greece's first to do so too.

The 22-year-old Greek star, reached his first Grand Slam final by beating German sixth seed Alexander Zverev in an epic dramatic five-set semi-final earlier on Friday.

The fifth seed showed all his class and supreme form as he battled past Alexander Zverev, 6-3 6-3 4-6 4-6 6-3 in a clash that lasted over three and a half hours.

If Djokovic gets the better of Tsitsipas, the men's world number one will claim his 19th grand slam title, which would put him just one behind the record of 20 shared by Nadal and Roger Federer.

Speaking to Eurosport after the triumph, Djokovic said it was a privilege to play third seed Rafa who has won all 13 of his previous French Open semi-finals.

"Tonight it was my greatest ever match in Paris."

"It was one of these matches you can remember forever. It was one of the top three matches in my life.

"To win against Rafa on this court you have to play your best tennis, and tonight I played my best tennis.

"It's hard to find the words to sum up how I feel. You tell yourself there is no pressure but there is. Pressure is a privilege - to test my game and my character in matches like this."

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