Immense. The sun had set for Roland Garros for a long time, but Rafael Nadal, if he turned his back, did not give in to Novak Djokovic, who had beaten him in the semi-finals a year ago. For this 59th duel, the Spaniard prevailed in a battle of the Titans after 4:16 of superhuman efforts (6-2, 4-6, 6-2, 7-6). Led by a break in the fourth inning, the Taurus of Manacor was transported by the Philippe-Chatrier crowd to get their qualification in the last square to face Alexander Zverev.
The anti-drought: The stars are still waiting for him
IT’S ONE HOUR
From the start of the tournament, it was everyone’s long-awaited date. Djokovic-Nadal in the quarterfinals, a kind of premature final for purists. And it had grown all the more so when Carlos Alcaraz was ejected from the tournament to everyone’s surprise early in the evening. Finally, it was in the middle of the night in Paris that Nadal ended up reigning in front of the world number one and holding the title at Roland Garros.
At Nadal the first battle
The duel was huge, with Djokovic chasing Nadal in terms of Grand Slams won in their respective careers, and he kept all his promises. Faced with an opponent without the slightest set conceded since the start of the tournament, the Iberian freed himself from the start of the game, not hesitating to play by advancing and shortening the exchanges. On the other side of the court, Djoko failed to withstand the adverse impact. Breaking after a long 10-minute first play (!), Djokovic then conceded a 3-1 double break in his favor. In the 59th minute, the number one seed lost a first battle (6-2), but not yet the war.
If Djokovic holds 20 Grand Slam tournaments on his list and beat Nadal in the previous four-round edition, it’s no coincidence. In the grand championship, Djokovic reacted as he should. Broken in the second set and then double broken in the stride, the Djoker turned in the second inning to go from 0-3 to 4-3, returning to the game like a cannonball. Monstrous on his right shot, Djokovic managed to win the second set with a staggering length (6-4 in 1:24!) To equalize in one inning everywhere.
A fabulous Christmas tie-break to finish
As many people might think at the memory of the previous 2021 confrontation in Porte d’Auteuil, perhaps the hardest part was already done. But Rafael Nadal is a huge champion. In Paris, he is also considered the master of the place regardless of his opponent. So? So Nadal prevailed in a crazy mood, concluding the third set brilliantly by making a copy-paste of the first inning (6-2) and then concluding the match by taking Djokovic in a decisive game where the Majorcan n ‘never seemed to worry about three missed game balls (7-6).
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Opposite, Djokovic no doubt lost the lead when Nadal broke free at 5-4, leading to madness on the center court as the Serb served to win the set. In two days, Nadal will be 36 years old and will play his 37th Grand Slam semifinal in his career. But how far will he be able to go?
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