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“There’s nothing more difficult in sports than beating Rafael Nadal at French Open,” Paul Annacone ahead of the Djokovic-Nadal semifinal showdown in Paris

Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic will lock horns for a 58th time in the semifinals of French Open 2021.

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Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic

Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic will clash against each other in a much-awaited semifinal match-up at French Open 2021. This will be the duo’s 58th meeting with each other, as Djokovic leads the head to head record, 29-28.

The two greats of the game met in the finals of French Open last year, however, that match never lived up to it’s billing. Nadal thrashed the world number one in straight sets, to lift his 13th French Open title and 20th Grandslam title.

Paul Annacone, former coach of Roger Federer and Pete Sampras picks Rafael Nadal as the favorite to win the semifinal on Friday. The American believes that Novak Djokovic had a good opportunity to defeat Nadal in the finals last year, with all conditions in his favor.

I thought last year was his best chance…in those cool conditions. And it was a one-way train. Arguably he’s the one guy that matches up well. And I thought he was going to be really confident. It turned out I don’t think he was and rightfully so. Rafa doesn’t lose much here,” said Annacone.

Top favourite for me remains Rafael Nadal: Boris Becker

Boris Becker also stated that he picks Rafael Nadal to defeat Novak Djokovic in the semifinals of French Open 2021. “I’m not a clairvoyant, but the top favourite for me remains Nadal, that hasn’t changed,” the German said.

Paul Annacone added that defeating Rafael Nadal at French Open is one of the toughest tasks in sports. The Spaniard has an incredible win-loss record in Paris, winning 105 matches and losing just two matches. One of his losses came against Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals of French Open 2015.

“I don’t think there’s anything more difficult in sports, any sport, than beating Nadal here, in three to five sets, I mean, look at his record (105-2). As great as Novak is, I just don’t see it over five sets,” said Annacone.

Rafael Nadal has dropped just one set so far in Paris, after he was forced into a fourth set in the quarterfinals by Diego Schwartzman. On the other hand, Novak Djokovic has played a five setter against Lorenzo Musetti and a four set match against Matteo Berrettini.

Also Read: French Open 2021: Novak Djokovic vs Rafael Nadal LIVE stream: When, Where, and How to Watch