The Fortress has been breached! Rafael Nadal‘s incredible run at the French Open finally comes to an end as he falls to Novak Djokovic in the semi-final. In the Battle of Goliaths, Djokovic got the better of Nadal in four thrilling sets of tennis 3-6,6-3,7-6(4),6-2 to hand him his third loss at the Stade Roland Garros.
For the first time at the French Open, Nadal has lost a match after winning the opening set and rightly so, was beaten by an opponent who showcased a perfect example of clay court tennis. The match had everything- long rallies, crowd’s backing, high drama and quality tennis.
The match wasn’t particularly destined to be one of the greatest right from the word go. It seemed that we will be witnessing the repeat of the 2020 Final as Nadal double broke Djokovic to take a 5-0 lead. The top seed wasn’t playing bad at all, but it was Nadal’s magic that worked in the first 5 games. The Serb showed his grit as he broke Rafa once but eventually lost the first set 3-6.
Despite losing the first set, Djokovic had the momentum coming into the second. He was the first one to break and did so in the second game but Nadal broke back in the very next game. The duo engaged in long rallies and showed everyone why they are the best in the world. Djokovic eventually broke again in the 6th game and took the set 6-3 to draw level at one seta piece.
Djokovic does the unthinkable
The third set was one of the best sets of grand slam tennis! The two showed why they are termed the best in the world. After 2 holds of serve, Djokovic broke Nadal only to get broken again. But the 13-time champion didn’t live upto his stature and handed an easy break to Djokovic. The Serb consolidated it and was serving for the set at 5-4 but it was Rafa doing Rafa things as he broke back to stay in the set.
The set eventually went into a tie-breaker and the top seed showed his mettle, as he dropped just 4 points and won the mega set in 93 minutes.
Nadal came fired up in the fourth set. He found himself in such a situation(1-2 down) at Roland Garros for the first time since 2011 against John Isner. He started quick, breaking Nole in the very first game but saw wrath of a man on a mission as Djokovic broke back to draw level at 2-2. It was all Djokovic since then as the World No.1 broke Nadal twice to claim on of his most cherished victories.
After more than 4 hours of intense tennis, Djokovic will now look to recover for an epic Final against Stefanos Tsitsipas on Sunday. If Djokovic wins, he will become only the second player after Rod Laver to win all the slams twice.