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French Open 2021: Novak Djokovic 1st player to beat Rafael Nadal twice at Roland Garros, enters 5th final

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic did the unthinkable as he defeated 13-time French Open champion at Roland Garros semi-final on Friday. This is the first time Nadal has lost a semi-final at the clay-court Grand Slam.

Novak Djokovic defeated Rafael Nadal in an all-time classic at Roland Garros on Friday (Reuter Photo)

Novak Djokovic defeated Rafael Nadal in an all-time classic at Roland Garros on Friday (Reuter Photo)

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Novak Djokovic beat Rafael Nadal 3-6, 6-3, 7-6, 6-2 in the 2nd semi-final
  • Nadal has only lost thrice at Roland Garros since 2005, twice against Djokovic
  • World No. 1 Djokovic will face Stefanos Tsitsipas in Sunday’s men’s singles final

Novak Djokovic has done the unthinkable as the world No. 1 became the first player in history to defeat 13-time champion Rafael Nadal in the Roland Garros men’s singles semi-final and reach the final of the French Open 2021.

Djokovic became the first player in history to beat Nadal twice in the Roland Garros as he registered a 3-6, 6-3, 7-6, 6-2 in just over 4 hours against a player who is considered to be the greatest in tennis history on the clay court.

Nadal has only lost three matches in his entire career at the claycourt Grand Slam since making his debut in 2005. The Spaniard had won the past 4 titles in Paris, part of his collection of 20 Slams, tied with Roger Federer for the most by a man in tennis history.

This is the fifth time Djokovic has made it to the French Open final, he won the tournament once in 2016. It’s also the first time Nadal has lost after winning the first set at Roland Garros.

“First I want to say it is a privilege to be on this court with Rafael Nadal. The biggest match I have ever played here in Paris. Also the best match with the best atmosphere for both players.

“To win against Rafa on this court you have to play your best tennis, and tonight I played my best tennis. It’s hard to find the words to sum up how I feel,” a relieved Djokovic said after the match.

Djokovic could now join Rod Laver and Roy Emerson as the only men to win each of the four Grand Slam tournaments twice. He will face Stefanos Tsitsipas in Sunday’s final.

It will be the 29th career Grand Slam final for Djokovic, and the first for Tsitsipas. Tsitsipas beat Alexander Zverev in the semifinals.

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