Saturday, 28 January 2023

Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic to meet in French Open semi-final

rafael nadal novak djokovic french open tennis

On Wednesday, Novak Djokovic set up a 58th meeting with Rafael Nadal when he reached his 40th Grand Slam in the semi-final at the French Open despite being held up by evacuation of 5,000 fans to conform with a Covid-19 curfew.

Novak Djokovic, who is world number one, defeated Italy's Matteo Berrettini by 6-3, 6-2, 6-7 (5/7), 7-5 to set his place in the last four Paris for the 11th time.

The 13-time champion, Rafael Nadal, beat Argentina's Diego Schwartzman 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-0 to make the semi-finals for the 14th time.

The play was halted on Wednesday as the match was extending beyond the national 11 pm curfew; Djokovic's game was halted for around 20 minutes at 3-2 in the fourth set so that 5000 fans could get out off Court Philippe Chatrier.

Novak Djokovic finally affirms the game on a 3rd match point in the 12th game of the 4th set, but only after the Serb had kicked out at an advertising board in frustration at missing the first two.

Djokovic hit 44 winners and saved all three break points he faced, said,

It was a release of all the sentiment I had kept inside me.

After all, the fans left and the small break, it wasn't easy to find a rhythm.

It was a challenging game for me.

He added:

It was a significant battle against a player who serves well and is Strong. Maybe I could have ended on the tie break, but I'm happy to have won.

Friday's semi-final will be the eighth between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros, where the Spaniard has a commanding 7-1 advantage.

Both players Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, have history on their minds in Paris.rafael nadal novak djokovic french open tennisImage Courtesy: GettyImages

Read More: Roger Federer withdraws from French Open; Wimbledon weeks away

That also includes last year's final but Djokovic remains just one of two men to have defeated Rafael Nadal at the tournament.

Djokovic, an 18-times major champion and 2016 French Open winner, is looking to achieve the first man in more than half a centenary to win all 4 Slams twice

Meanwhile, Rafael Nadal can win a groundbreaking 21st major triumph in Sunday's final, fringing forward of Roger Federer in the all-time race.

Fans were allowed to attend an evening game at this year's tournament; it was the first time like this, thanks to an easing of Covid-19 restrictions.

However, the play was halted just before 11 pm to let the spectators leave.

Some fans chanted:

We are going to stay, we are going to stay

Before fans relented and filed out of Court, Philippe Chatrier

One man was watching the quarter-final with his wife, and two children said

I paid 500 euros for only two and a half sets of a game. It's unacceptable.
They should have started at 7 pm and not 8 pm.

The 5000-strong crowd watched as Djokovic took command against Berrettini, who had made the quarter-finals when Federer withdrew from the tournament. Now Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal will face-off in the French Open semi-finals.

Wednesday was the 10th and final evening session of the tournament.

However, the first welcomed spectators after Covid-19 eased restrictions, and a 9 pm curfew pushed back to 11 pm.

Both Djokovic and Berrettini

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