World News – CA – Djokovic escapes in five years to face Nadal in Roland-Garros final – Sportsnet


Serbian Novak Djokovic celebrates his victory in the semi-final of the French tennis tournament against Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas in five sets (Christophe Ena / AP)

PARIS – Novak Djokovic seemed well on his way to another ho-hum victory, another Roland-Garros final, yet another confrontation against his rival Rafael Nadal And then, suddenly, what had been a gallop became a grind

Just over two hours after the start of his semi-final against Stefanos Tsitsipas on Friday night, Djokovic was serving for the match, one point after finishing things in straight sets Just One Point But a backhand on the line veered a bit wide, Djokovic rolled his eyes and eventually he was stuck in a serious situation, somehow pushed to five sets.

As usual, however, he was up to the task when it mattered most Djokovic got back into the home stretch to hold Tsitsipas 6-3, 6-2, 5-7 , 4-6, 6-1, much younger and much less accomplished, to reach his fifth title match at Roland Garros

“I stayed calm on the surface,” said Djokovic, “but deep down it was a whole different matter”

Obstructing No 1 Djokovic, a 33-year-old Serb, on Sunday at Court Philippe Chatier – he pursues a second trophy there and 18th in all Grand Slam tournaments – will, as so often, No 2 Nadal, a Spaniard 34 years old

This will be their 56th meeting, the biggest between two men in the professional era (Djokovic leads 29-26), 16th in a major (Nadal leads 9-6) and eighth at Roland Garros (Nadal leads 6- 1)

In addition to getting closer to an unfathomable 13th French Championship with a 6-3, 6-3, 7-6 (0) victory over 12th seed Diego Schwartzman, Nadal now has a chance to equal Roger Federer for men’s record of 20 Slam titles

Nadal said it was good for others to discuss these issues, but that he is clearly focused on the task at hand

« I’m playing the most important tournament of the year – that’s what motivates me, » he insisted

While Nadal faced the slightest tension at the end of his third set on Friday, everything got more interesting at that point for Djokovic against Tsitsipas, a 22-year-old Greek in his second major semi-final

Djokovic served for the win at 5-4, holding that match point at 40-30 It would take him another 1 hour and 45 minutes to complete the job

This misstep left the door a little ajar and Tsitsipas broke in He got his first break every game when Djokovic sent a long forehand, making it 5-all Tsitsipas again broke to fly this set when Djokovic scored a forehand, then got a fifth place

What has changed? Tsitsipas began to advance further, taking action from Djokovic, whose failures began to increase with less time to properly calibrate

Djokovic started by converting 4 out of 5, then went through a stretch where he was 1 in 13

After the fourth set, Djokovic changed socks and shoes, and Tsitsipas had a medical visit for a check on his left leg

Djokovic is now 32-10 in five sets and 216-1 taking a two-set lead in Grand Slam matches (the only loss came at Roland Garros 2010 against Jurgen Melzer)

Perhaps it made sense, then, that Djokovic, so reliant on throws every game and every tournament, used a perfect to take a 2-1 lead in the fifth. It became 4-1 when Tsitsipas double faulted

Djokovic is now 37-1 in 2020, the only setback caused by a disqualification at the US Open last month

« Of course he has reached almost perfection, Novak, in his style of play, his way of playing, » Tsitsipas said, « which is amazing to see, honestly »

Nadal improved to 99-2 at Roland Garros – go ahead, read it again – including a 25-0 combined in the semi-finals and final, as he seeks a fourth consecutive title at Paris

He’s won all 15 sets he’s played over the past two weeks, scoffing at any supposed explanations as to why this year, so different for so many reasons, might be different for Nadal in the City of Lights

Shifting dates from May-June to September-October due to pandemic, bringing cooler weather New slightly heavier tennis balls Nadal’s decision to skip the US Open, leaving him only three games since the resumption of tennis in August

Then there was this: Schwartzman knocked down Nadal in straight sets on clay at the Italian Open last month

The late afternoon sun at Philippe Chatrier Court created awkward shadows across much of the pitch and blinding light at one end, prompting Schwartzman to flip his baseball cap back so the brim could fall. protect eyes

Only 1,000 spectators are allowed in the field per day, due to the rise in COVID-19 cases in France, and the sparse crowd on site applauded Schwartzman at the end of the third, when he kept the decor tight

At the end, the fans chanted, “Ra-fa! Ra-fa! »As they have done so many times in the past

« You can’t pretend to be in the Roland Garros final without suffering This is what happened there » Nadal said of the tight third set « But I found a way, no ?  »

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French Open, Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Diego Schwartzman, Tennis, Pablo Carreño Busta

World news – CA – Djokovic escapes in five, will face Nadal at Roland-Garros final – SportsnetCalifornie


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