A great Djokovic stops the clock of history and surpasses Rafael Nadal in the semifinals of Roland Garros

He beat the Spaniard 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (5) and 6-2 and frustrated his dream of overcoming Federer’s 20 greats in this tournament. Nadal’s third career loss in Paris.

Djokovic celebrates the victory.GONZALO FUENTESREUTERS

An admirable Novak Djokovic stopped the clock of history in Paris by imposing itself on Rafael Nadal in the semifinals of Roland Garros by 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (5) and 6-2, in four hours and 11 minutes. Six years after beating him in the quarterfinals, he did it again to frustrate his dream of surpassing the 20 greats in this edition. Roger Federer. The Spaniard suffered his third loss in the tournament who has won 13 times. Robin Soderling managed to stop him in the second round of 2009. Nadal, who once again looked like the main favorite for the victory after winning the tenth title in Rome and behaving with the authority that characterizes him throughout the tournament, saw how his usual adversary, hesitant in the previous two rounds, beaten hard at the beginning of the match, he grew until the victory was consummated. Be the number one in the world who is measured on Sunday in the final with Stefanos Tsitsipas, how super the Alexander Zverev in five sets.

Had elapsed eight months and two days, but for a few moments it seemed that we were still in the early last fall. Nadal dominated Djokovic 5-0, like that October 9, 2020 in which he left him blank in the first set to continue with one of the strongest scores in their long rivalry. It was hard to suspect that the match, which was witnessed by 5,000 people, would turn into one of the most passionate fights ever between the two. Such was the scope of the show, such the possible disturbances that its interruption would have caused, that even curfew was violated. At the end of the third quarter, it was announced over the megaphone that the public could remain in the Philippe-Chatrier until the conclusion of the game.

Faster, more accurate, more aggressive, more effective In each of his strokes and movements, the Spaniard had left behind two adverse breaking balls in the first game to undermine the mood of his rival, reluctant to exchange blows, stubborn in the abuse of left-overs, incapable of to generate winning shots. Nadal commanded and when he did not he replicated any threat. It was amazing how much you need Nole to make a target.

Proud reaction

Shouts of encouragement, “Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go! “that came from a lit grandstand as in the afternoons that now seem old to us, they could not lift the winner of 18 Grand Slam titlesIt took him a long time to find a way to avoid having his face painted so cruelly. He jerked with pride, stopped to think, better about the rest and created some doubts in a Nadal who needed up to seven balls to take the set by a decorous 6-3, for which he was facing his rival of a lifetime. .

He recovered tennis and arrests the balkan for rising to the height of his name, but his early lead in the second set was met with a slam from Nadal, breaking the mark again. It was already a duel more similar to some of the 26 they had previously starred on clay. The one of Belgrade, while the respective fans confronted proclamations of support. Again with an advantage, 4-2 and service, and again the southpaw who dances as they will dance in the ring, as soon as he protects himself with balls of very different flight as he counters with the sharp weapon, without mediating a transition. It costs more than a pain to Nole take distance in the second set, which will be yours at the first opportunity, after saving two balls of break.

Each set was a match unto itself. The third, more than any other. He drew Djokovic with 5-4 to take him, but it was Nadal who had the first option to make it his, with 6-5 on his side, the rest, neutralized by the Balkan with a left. A serious error by the Spaniard, who flew long with the entire court at his disposal, pointed out the tie break. Djokovic went 5-3 in the tiebreaker quarter and later converted the first of his two set points, reaching a drop of Nadal that he then returned outside the confines of the track.

It was useless for the Spaniard to start with a break in the fourth. Djokovic chained six games in a row to culminate a prodigious comeback, the kind that distinguish a player from little. He dominates the face-to-face between the two 30-28 and, despite having defeated him in the direct fight for Grand Slam titles, there will be few triumphs that he values ​​as much as this one.

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