Djokovic to face Nadal in french open fi­nal block­buster

Daily Observer (Jamaica) - - SPORT -

Paris, France (AFP) — No­vak Djokovic set up a block­buster French Open ti­tle show­down with rafael Nadal yes­ter­day after a dra­matic five-set semi-fi­nal vic­tory over Greek star ste­fanos Tsit­si­pas.

World num­ber one Djokovic, the 2016 cham­pion at Roland Gar­ros, reached his fifth fi­nal in Paris, de­feat­ing fifth­seed Tsit­si­pas 6-3, 6-2, 5-7, 4-6, 6-1 in a roller-coaster of a con­test where he had held a match point in the third set.

Nadal, the 12-time cham­pion, de­feated Diego Schwartz­man 6-3, 6-3, 7-6 (7/0) to make a 13th fi­nal at the tour­na­ment.

On Sun­day, Djokovic can win an 18th ma­jor and be­come the first man in half a cen­tury to win all four Slams twice.

Nadal, the world num­ber two, can equal Roger Fed­erer’s all-time record of 20 Grand Slam ti­tle wins.

Djokovic is one of only two men to have de­feated Nadal at Roland Gar­ros in 15 years. Sun­day will be their 56th clash.

“This is the house of Rafa,” said Djokovic. “I will have the mo­ti­va­tion to win; I beat him here in 2015, but this will be the big­gest chal­lenge — play­ing Nadal on clay.”

Djokovic hailed Tsit­si­pas, who was ap­pear­ing in the semi-fi­nal of a Slam for only the sec­ond time.

“Ste­fanos is a big player but after four hours he was tired. He gave me a lot of trou­ble. I looked calm on the sur­face, but it was a dif­fer­ent story in­side,” added Djokovic who will be in his 27th Slam fi­nal.

Djokovic took a 5-1 ca­reer lead over Tsit­si­pas into the semi-fi­nal, and show­ing no signs of the neck and shoul­der in­jury which blighted his per­for­mance against Pablo Car­reno Busta in the last eight, he se­cured the only break of the opener in the sec­ond game.

Cru­cially, he saved all five break points he faced.

That be­came seven from seven early in the sec­ond set, and he made Tsit­si­pas pay, break­ing for a 3-2 edge and back­ing it up with an­other for 5-2.

The 22-year-old Greek, ap­pear­ing in his first French Open semi-fi­nal, just couldn’t make Djokovic crack.

An eighth break point came and went in the sec­ond game of the third set with Djokovic break­ing for 5-4.

Nadal into 13th fi­nal

Hav­ing saved two more break points, Djokovic was un­able to con­vert a match point in the 10th game, picked up a time vi­o­la­tion, and un­set­tled by the call as well as dis­tur­bances in the crowd was bro­ken at the 11th time of ask­ing.

From the brink of a quick exit, Tsit­si­pas stayed alive, tak­ing the third set 7-5.

Djokovic squan­dered 10 break points in the fourth set as Tsit­si­pas, who had also been two sets down in his open­ing match against Jaume Mu­nar, lev­elled the match.

How­ever, in a fi­nal twist and as the clock ticked closer to the four-hour mark, Tsit­si­pas faded away in the de­cider, drop­ping serve twice to hand Djokovic a 4-1 lead.

He saved an­other match point but was pow­er­less on the third as Djokovic fired a clean win­ner.

For 34-year-old Nadal, his win over Schwartz­man was his 99th at Roland Gar­ros.

He is into his 28th fi­nal at the ma­jors and has not dropped a set in the tour­na­ment this year.

“It’s al­ways in­cred­i­ble to play here and this is a very spe­cial mo­ment,” said Nadal after a 10th win in 11 matches against Schwartz­man who had shocked him in Rome last month.

“I played a cou­ple of bad points in the third set but Diego is a very tough player. He prob­a­bly makes more breaks on the tour than oth­ers.

“It was dif­fi­cult un­til the end, but it was a pos­i­tive match for me.”

Nadal fought off two break points in a marathon 14-minute open­ing game. He then broke for 2-0 but Schwartz­man re­trieved it im­me­di­ately.

It was a brief respite for the 5ft 6in (1.68m) player af­fec­tion­ately known as “El Peque” (shorty), as the 28-year-old was bro­ken again in the fourth game.

The Ar­gen­tine saved a cou­ple of set points but dumped the third one in the net and the opener was Nadal’s after 65 min­utes on court.

Nadal was com­fort­ably the stronger, break­ing in the third and ninth games for a two-set lead.

With the match and his spirit seem­ingly drift­ing away, Schwartz­man dropped serve again to go 3-1 down in the third.

But he ral­lied as Nadal slipped into pas­siv­ity and by the 11th game he was back on serve although he re­mon­strated with him­self for squan­der­ing three break points that would have left him serv­ing for the set.

That was his last chance as Nadal stormed through the tiebreaker.

The Ar­gen­tine was left to re­gret his 48 un­forced er­rors and con­vert­ing just three of his 12 break points.

“It’s dif­fer­ent play­ing against Djokovic, Fed­erer, Rafa, these guys. Is not easy play­ing them five sets be­cause you have to play your best ten­nis maybe for three, four hours, five hours. Phys­i­cally it’s very hard,” he ad­mit­ted.

(Photo: afp)

Ser­bia’s No­vak Djokovic cel­e­brates after win­ning against Greece’s Ste­fanos Tsit­si­pas at the end of their men’s sin­gles semi-fi­nal ten­nis match on Day 13 of The Roland Gar­ros 2020 French Open ten­nis tour­na­ment in Paris yes­ter­day.

(Photo: afp)

Spain’s Rafael Nadal cel­e­brates after win­ning against Ar­gentina’s Diego Schwartz­man dur­ing their men’s sin­gles semi-fi­nal ten­nis match on Day 13 of The Roland Gar­ros 2020 French Open ten­nis tour­na­ment in Paris yes­ter­day.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Jamaica

© PressReader. All rights reserved.