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Novak Djokovic: French Open Semi vs. Nadal 'The Greatest Match' I've Played in Paris

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIJune 12, 2021

AP Photo/Thibault Camus

Novak Djokovic won a four-set thriller over Rafael Nadal in the French Open semifinals on Friday in Paris.

Roland-Garros @rolandgarros

Impossible Achieved 👊@DjokerNole becomes the first player in history to defeat Nadal in a Paris semi-final, besting the Spaniard 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(4), 6-2 to reach the title match.#RolandGarros pic.twitter.com/Cfy4178lSW

Djokovic had this to say after the four-hour, 11-minute match, per Christopher Clarey of the New York Times: "The first thing I want to say is it was my privilege also to be on the court with Rafa for this incredible match. It is surely the greatest match I have played here in Paris. It's also the match with the best atmosphere and ambiance and energy."

Nadal also provided remarks after another classic match between the two legends, per Ben Rothenberg of the New York Times: “This is the most important tournament of my year…but life is still sweet. This is nothing bigger than a loss on a tennis court.”

The match featured an epic third set, which Djovkovic won via tiebreaker. In the fourth and final set, Djokovic overcame a 2-0 deficit to win six straight games and cap his victory over Nadal.

Roland-Garros @rolandgarros

🇷🇸 Nothing is Impossible 🇷🇸<br><br>Djokovic puts grit on full display, saving set point and capturing the third 7-6(4) for the two sets to one lead. Nadal is trailing by that margin for just the third time in his career in Paris.#RolandGarros pic.twitter.com/V6UWAIjIIf

Nadal, a 20-time major winner who has claimed the French Open title 13 times, including the last four, has won 105 of his 108 matches at Roland Garros, per The Athletic.

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Two of the losses are to Djokovic, an 18-time major winner who won the 2016 French Open. The other was to Robin Soderling in 2009.

Djokovic will shoot for his 19th major win when he faces Stefanos Tsitsipas on Sunday in the final. The ATP Tour noted the 34-year-old Serbian will make men's tennis history if he claims the title:

ATP Media Info @ATPMediaInfo

If he defeats @StefTsitsipas on Sunday, @DjokerNole will join Roy Emerson and @RodLaver as 3rd player in history to win all 4 Grand Slam men's singles titles twice.<br><br>Djokovic would be the 1st man to win all 4 Grand Slams twice in Open Era (since 1968 @RolandGarros). #RolandGarros

Tsitsipas and Djokovic will meet to determine the French Open champion Sunday at 9 a.m. ET. The match will be televised on NBC.

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