Djokovic turned it around, beat Nadal in a great game and will play the Roland Garros final

The anticipated final was for Novak Djokovic. The current world number 1 beat Rafael Nadal, third in the ranking but king in Paris by 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (4) and 6-2 and will play the true definition of Roland Garros against Stefanos Tsitsipas .

Suffocating, deep and accurate, Rafa did not let Nole get into the game.
Although Djokovic did battle in an opening game that lasted ten minutes, Nadal had an overwhelming start. First, to lift the first two breaks with aces and then to accumulate five games in a row that seemed to take the Serbian out of the fight, who just added his first point after half an hour of play.

It seemed that the 6-1 was heading clearly when the Spaniard raised a double break point and went from being 15-40 to having a double advantage to take the first set. However, Djokovic reacted, broke and confirmed with a service that risked breaking. The Serbian even raised six set points until Nadal found the key to unlock the outcome and take the first set 6-3 in 61 minutes. With one fact: a 97-0 record every time a match started on top in French brick dust.

That statistic did not pass through the head of the world number 1, who took off his status in the ranking at the start of the second set, with a quick break. However, Nadal was reminded of it when he knocked out the Serbian and regained the game to even the game 2-2.

With patience, the one that Nadal thrashes when he recovers balls that seem impossible, Djokovic broke again in the sixth game and did not give up that advantage. With determination, he raised two break points to win the second heat 6-3 after 54 minutes of intense and great tennis.

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The beginning of the third set showed a poised, impassive and fighting man from Manacor – faithful to his style – in the face of what he was becoming and was, at that point, a constant in the game: the difficulties to sustain his service.

By the time he managed to get 2-1, he had given Djokovic no less than 12 chances to break his serve (although Nole had not been far behind: he allowed Rafa 9 until then).

And there was no change in that trend, which caused the Serbian to stay with his task sooner rather than later: he had another three break-points in the fifth game and this time he capitalized on them to go ahead 3-2 and serve.

Of course, Nadal, always Nadal, must be killed several times to have his death certificate stamped. It was so that he quickly had 3 points to regain the disadvantage and, although Djokovic defended everything he could in great form (one of them, with the longest rally so far: 23 strokes), the Spanish got it and equaled the actions.

As if to motivate the tweet from Andy Murray, who commented from his home: “You can’t play better tennis on brick dust. It’s perfect.”

What happened in the seventh game? Djokovic went to zero. What in any other game could well mean a low tennis flight, in this one it was the opposite: two great “returners”, who minimized the effects of the rival serve and put everything at the service of the hierarchy.

And the difference was that this time he held it, despite the fact that he also had a break against it. And yet, he left a door open and Nadal not only opened it: he kicked it and threw it down to break it and tie it 5-5, then holding a very hard game that led him to celebrate it with a cry from the soul, looking directly at his rival, who by then was looking with his eyes to his work team in the gallery and spoke to them as if seeking explanations.

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For any other player, it could have been lapidary. However, that hinge did not finish breaking Djokovic, who even overcame a set point for Rafa. The very high level of both reached an expected tie-break.

There, a seamless Djokovic took advantage, among other things, of an unusually wrong volley by the Spaniard and won the set 7-6 (4).

The start of the fourth set had a Nadal who seemed to go for everything by breaking already in the first game, but the match had shown that that was no guarantee: Nole recovered and turned it around to be 3-2.

And with a very high level, with an authority inappropriate for someone who faces Nadal at Roland Garros but typical of one of the two men who could eliminate him from this contest (it was together with Robin Soderling the only one who had won him), typical of A man looking for his 19th Grand Slam crown to win one of Rafa and Federer’s, Djokovic crushed in the fourth quarter: he was 6-2 in 41 minutes and a passport to the final.

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