Rafael Nadal beats Novak Djokovic in 5 sets thriller, to face Zverev in the Semi-finals.

 

Rafael Nadal demonstrated once again why French Open is his fortress history by beating Perennial rival Novak Djokovic in a late-night thriller to reach the men’s singles semi-finals.

Spaniard Nadal, going for a 14th title, started superbly and dealt with champion Djokovic late challenge to win 6-2 4-6 6-2 7-6 (7-4) at Roland Garros.

Nadal secured victory at 1:15am local time after over four hours on court.

“To win against Novak there is only one way: to play your best from the first point to the last,” said 35-year-old Nadal, who thanked the Paris crowd for showing their “love”.

 

“This is one of those magic nights for me.”

Victory over Djokovic sees Nadal avenged his semi-final defeat by Djokovic last year and extended his all-time record on the Roland Garros clay to 110 wins in 113 matches.

 

The rivalry between the duo is the most enduring in men’s tennis, with Nadal winning their 59th meeting seeing him close the gap to 30-29 in the head-to-head.

“Nadal showed why he is a great champion and stayed mentally tough. No doubt he deserves it,” said Djokovic.

 

“He was the better player in the important moments, he started well and I didn’t start so well.

“I gained momentum in the second set and I thought I was back in the game. But he was able to take his tennis to another level.”

The 21-time Grand Slam winner now faces third seed Alexander Zverev on Friday

Germany’s Zverev, 25, reached the semi-finals for the second successive year after surviving teenage sensation Carlos Alcaraz’s fightback earlier on Tuesday.

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