Huge. The sun had set for Roland Garros for a long time, but Rafael Nadal, if he bent 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). Taking a break in the English Channel district, the Taurus of Manacor was transported by the Philippe-Chatrier public to run his quest to qualify in the last square to face Alexander Zverev.
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From the start of the tournament, it was everyone’s long-awaited date. Djokovic-Nadal in the quarterfinals, a premature final fate for the purists. And it had grown all the more so when Carlos Alcaraz was ejected from the tournament to the general surprise of the evening’s debut. 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, Djokovic heeling Nadal in terms of Grand Slam reported 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. After a 10-minute break (!), Djokovic then took 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 into a second-round run 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. Moreover, Rafael Nadal is a huge champion. In Paris, he is also considered the master of the place regardless of his opponent. Then? Then Nadal prevailed in a crazy atmosphere, concluding the three sets brilliantly by making a copy-paste of the first round (6-2), then ended the game 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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In front, Djokovic left no doubt when Nadal started 5-4, training foil on the central court, when he serves 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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