Novak Djokovic survives Tsitsipas fightback, to face Nadal in final
World no.1 Novak Djokovic survived a fightback from fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in their French Open semi-final to book a title clash against the rampant Rafael Nadal
Paris: World no.1 Novak Djokovic survived a fightback from fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in their French Open semi-final to book a title clash against the rampant Rafael Nadal. Djokovic beat Tsitsipas 6-3, 6-2, 5-7, 4-6 in a match that lasted three hours and 54 minutes.
This was the fourth time in Djokovic's career where he was taken to five sets in the semi-final stage at Roland-Garros.
A double break helped Djokovic take command of the second set and a late break in the third saw him serve for the match at 5-4.
Tsitsipas clung on though, saving a match point before breaking his opponent to draw level, finally converting a break point for the first time in the whole contest, on his 11th opportunity. Djokovic saved set point in game 12 but a sensational Tsitsipas down-the-line forehand winner saw the 22-year-old break again to force a fourth set.
Tsitsipas claimed a fifth game in a row to leap to a 2-0 advantage in the fourth set. But that just prompted Djokovic to snatch the momentum right back as he drew level. From 40-15 up, Djokovic got broken in the 10th game on a netted drop shot attempt to enter a deciding set against Tsitsipas.
He was quick to reverse the momentum in the fifth. Djokovic raced to a double-break lead in the decider and wrapped up the win in three hours and 54 minutes.
"Credit to him (Tsitsipas) for fighting back. He just played terrific tennis, especially in the fourth set when he was facing break points... He's a fighter. He's one of the best players in the world...There was a lot at stake for him," said Djokovic after the match as per the ATP Tour website.
"He was motivated to try to turn the match around, which he did very well. But in the end I think he ran out of gas. That's when I stepped it up, used my opportunities when they were presented in the fifth and closed out the match in a great fashion," he added.
Djokovic is chasing an 18th Grand Slam title while Nadal is chasing his 20th.
"I was definitely not pleased with the way I played the finishing stages of the third and fourth sets, but I was very pleased with the way I kept my composure mentally throughout the entire match," said the world number one. "I did feel that even though I lost the third and fourth, I still felt like I was the better player on the court. I had more control. I just felt comfortable playing," he added. Djokovic will now play 'King of Clay' Rafael Nadal in the summit clash. Djokovic owns a 29-26 head to head advantage against the Spaniard, but Nadal has won six of their seven meetings at this event.