Nadal wins at the end of the night
What an evening of tennis! We were expecting a monument and the disappointment was not there, far from it! Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic offered the spectators of the Philippe-Chatrier court a huge fight for more than four hours, and it was the Spaniard who emerged victorious. “Rafa” finally triumphed 6-2, 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 and will find Alexander Zverev in the semi-finals of Roland-Garros.
As in their last two confrontations on clay in Paris, Nadal left with a bang. Very aggressive from the first points, he managed to break his opponent from the start to take the score and win the first set quite easily (6-2). Under pressure and nervous, the world number one could not free himself and multiplied the unforced errors. Result: he twice conceded his second set entry service, and the public could then fear that this long-awaited duel would end.
It was without counting the reaction of Djokovic. In a second set which saw some of his games last more than 10 minutes, “Nole” managed to gradually catch up, until he scored a decisive break to equalize at one set everywhere (6-4). But while he seemed fresher than the Spaniard, it was paradoxically he who took the hit at the start of the third set.
As in the first two rounds, Nadal got up from his chair full of determination to take Djokovic’s service again from the start, then complete a set that was finally largely to his advantage (6-2). We also thought we were heading for a similar fourth set for Djokovic when the Serb broke from the start and led 5-3. All the spectators saw a fifth inning looming, not Nadal. The Spaniard once again raised his level of play to unbreak and push the world number one into the tie-break. After taking off (6-1), Nadal had difficulty concluding and let three match points pass. But on the fourth, and during a last huge exchange like the meeting, he took his chance and his ticket for the semi-final with a last masterful setback along the line.