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There were several quality and memorable matches in 2013:
Stanislas Wawrinka dueled Novak Djokovic for the best match of the Australian Open, a match with high-quality shots and the Serbian's final resilience to win the fourth round en route to the title.
Andy Murray outlasted Fernando Verdasco in the quarterfinals and capped off his dream with a final victory over Djokovic. Juan Martin del Potro also played his heart out in pushing Djokovic to five sets in the semifinals.
Nadal's third set comeback in the U.S. Open final also spurred him to his 13th Grand Slam title and eventually the No. 1 ranking.
But the French Open semifinal will rank as the most important and memorable match of 2013. It was the difference between an epic year for Nadal and a runner-up great year for Djokovic. It virtually determined which player would finish the year with two Slams and the No. 1 ranking.
Djokovic was so very close to ending the Nadal dynasty on red clay. If only he had not blown that fifth set smash volley...
The match was the mirror to their 2012 marathon in Australia. Just as it looked like Nadal would wrap up the match in four sets, he faltered and Djokovic seized the advantage into a fifth set and up a break.
Up 4-3, Djokovic's ill-fated smash volley carried him into the net. Nadal was awarded the point by the chair umpire and a few points later Nadal broke back to level the match.
Later, Djokovic missed an overhead to open the 16th game and could not recover for any of the final three points.
The match contained high quality shots, endurance, dry heat, adversity, comebacks and mistakes. Ultimately, it may have been the most important match of the year, and perhaps took the pressure off Nadal to dominate the late summer North American hard court tour.
We may never see another player approach Nadal's eight French Open titles, but Djokovic should not lack for motivation in 2014 in the tournament he most wants to win.