Nadal loses Djokovic in epic clash at French Open semifinals

Tennis - French Open - Roland Garros, Paris, France - June 1, 2022 Spain's Rafael Nadal celebrates winning his quarter-final match against Serbia's Novak Djokovic REUTERS / Pascal Rossignol

Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – June 1, 2022 Spain’s Rafael Nadal celebrates winning his quarter-final match against Serbia’s Novak Djokovic REUTERS / Pascal Rossignol

PARIS – The talk of ending Rafael Nadal’s reign has once again proved premature as Claycourt lost to arch-rival Novak Djokovic 6-2 4-6 6-2 7-6 to win the record-breaking men’s 22nd Grand Slam title (4) at a Vintage French Open on Tuesday. In the quarter finals.

The 13-time Roland Garros champion, who lost to the world number one in the semifinals here last year, arrived in Paris after two injuries that hampered his preparations.

After surviving a five-set thriller against Felix Agar Aliasim in the previous round, the Spaniard, who has lost at the French Open only three times since his first campaign in 2005, knows that every inch of the huge court has paid for Philip Chatterjee and Djokovic. Reminder

The Serbians are still holding 20 Grand Slam titles – a major one that Nadal has won – despite local authorities banning him from participating in the Australian Open for refusing to be vaccinated against Covid-19.

The day the teenager Carlos Alcaraz, widely publicized as his successor, dropped out, Nadal punched and gave defending champion Djokovic the ropes at a high octane start under the spotlight.

Djokovic fought in the second set of 88 minutes but Nadal, 35, backed by a biased crowd, found the means to finish in the fourth set despite a break in the fourth set and set up a meeting with the German third. Alexander Zaverev’s pick for Sunday’s final

Earlier, Zverev lost to Alcaraz in four sets.

Magic Night

“It simply came to our notice then. Thanks everyone. It’s incredible, I get support from you. Everyone knows how important the game is to me here. It’s the most important tournament of my career, “Nadal told the court after a four-hour, 12-minute stretch.

“It’s a very difficult match. Djokovic is one of the best players in history. Playing against him is always a big challenge. There is only one way to play against it – from the first point to the end at your best level.

“And today was a magic night for me. Unexpected levels from me.”

A 10-minute opening game, won by Djokovic’s Survey Nadal, set the tone for the heavyweights’ clash.

“Rafa, Rafa!” The crowd chanted slogans.

He paused for the second time with the trademark forehand winner before completing the first set survey when Djokovic made his ninth unforced error.

Tennis - French Open - Roland Garros, Paris, France - June 1, 2022 Serbia's Novak Djokovic reacts during the quarter-final match against Spain's Rafael Nadal REUTERS / Gonzalo Fuentes

Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – June 1, 2022 Serbia’s Novak Djokovic reacts during the quarter-final match against Spain’s Rafael Nadal Reuters / Gonzalo Fuentes

The Serbian trailed 3-0 in the second, but a poorly performed drop shot by Nadal allowed him to bring the break back.

Djokovic smiled. In the sixth game of the 18th minute, Djokovic broke again in his fifth attempt as Nadal’s backhand widened.

In the next game he faced a break point but Nadal played very short and the Serbians won their fourth game in a row in a spectacular change.

Nadal was able to hold only 4-4 but Djokovic can serve 5-4 if the match is tied.

Mallorcan, however, started the third set as the first, leading 4–1, and wrapped it up with another uncontrollable error by Djokovic.

In the contest, Djokovic regained the upper hand to take a 3-0 lead in the fourth set, but Nadal was unable to advance to the fifth set, returning 4-5 before forcing a tiebreaker to give his opponent no chance.

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