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Novak Djokovic reaches French Open final: game for the ages


Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal delivered a semifinals full of drama and ludicrous rallies. In the end, the Spaniard was not helped by either a favorite surface or a parade strike. The fans sang about the game with happiness.

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Rafael Nadal



Tennis in its perfection:

The absurd thing about this tennis match was that there was no award ceremony after the handshake between the two protagonists. No, this wasn't the final of Roland Garros, edition 2021. It was only the semifinals. Both Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic would have deserved the Coupe des Mousquetaires after this performance. What a shame there had to be a loser at all. The drama of the match was unbeatable. In addition, the game level was at the highest level for almost the entire duration of 4 hours and 10 minutes.

The result:

Novak Djokovic won the semifinals of the French Open 2021 against Rafael Nadal 3: 6, 6: 3, 7: 6 and 6: 2 and will now face the Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas on Sunday.

Nadal had never lost a Roland Garros semi-final before.

The numbers of two champions:

It was the 58th duel between Djokovic and Nadal. In the history of professional tennis, no match has taken place more often. The Serb, number 1 in the world rankings, now leads the balance after victories with 30:28. The fact that Djokovic was able to beat his eternal rival on sand is at least a small surprise. Last year, the two met in the final, which the Spaniard clearly won in three sets. On his favorite surface in Paris, Nadal had only lost twice in 107 matches. In 2009 against Robin Söderling and in 2015 against the very same Djokovic who was able to defeat the 13-time Roland Garros champion again. With a win over Tsitsipas, Djokovic now has the chance to increase his Grand Slam title collection to 19. Nadal and Federer are each with 20 major successes.

First game, first set:

It was a furious start to this match: Nadal's first service game lasted almost ten minutes. From the first point on, both players showed highly demanding tennis. Several times it was about debut. In the end, the Spaniard, who like his counterpart, already called his entire punch repertoire at this early stage, took the lead 1-0 - and then played himself into a frenzy. In the meantime, the number 3 in the world even leads 5-0. But then Djokovic hit the lines better and fought his way up. Nadal finally needed seven set balls to win the set 6: 3. It should be his last set win this year in the Bois de Boulogne.

Stylistic devices as the key to success:

With Nadal, it initially looked as if his favorite stroke, the forehand hit along the line, could become the greatest threat to Djokovic. But because from the second set onwards he kept using his two-handed backhand, which he had hit across the net, and thus brought Nadal more and more into trouble for almost a minute, the Spaniard's parade blow fizzled out. Djokovic, on the other hand, perfected his backhand, hitting the balls while climbing and once again forced the already high speed of his hits. The length was mostly perfect anyway.

The decisive scene of the game:

After the level in the second set, which the Serbian won 6: 3, dropped a little because both suddenly made many simple mistakes, the third set offered an intoxicating spectacle that the tennis world had never seen before had. The match weighed back and forth, ludicrous rallies lined up. Suddenly it happened: Nadal hit a simple forehand volley in the tie-break of all things. He opened his wrist too early, hit the ball too late. The ball landed a meter and a half behind the baseline out of bounds. It was a present for Djokovic. Shortly afterwards the sentence was gone. As Nadal later admitted, it was a kind of preliminary decision.

For the love of the game:

It is still not quite clear who actually decided in the end to lift the curfew in Paris for the spectators of this historic duel on the Court Philippe Chatrier. But one thing was certain: it was a big decision. The fans sang the Marseillaise with happiness and thanks. That also fitted in with this evening.

Source: spiegel

All sports articles on 2021-06-13

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