Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal once again placed themselves in a Grand Slam final Friday at the French Open.
The top two seeds in the men's singles draw used victories in Friday's semifinals to set up their ninth meeting in a Grand Slam final and fourth championship showdown inside Court Philippe Chatrier.
Nadal opened Friday's slate by avenging a loss from the Italian Open against Diego Schwartzman in straight set. Djokovic faced more difficulty since Stefanos Tsitsipas took him to five sets, but the top seed prevailed in his longest match of the tournament.
Nadal and Djokovic's spots in the final confirm that a major will be won by those two or Roger Federer for the 56th time since the start of the 2004 season.
No. 1 Novak Djokovic def. No. 5 Stefanos Tsitsipas, 6-3, 6-2, 5-7, 4-6, 6-1
No. 2 Rafael Nadal def. No. 12 Diego Schwartzman, 6-3, 6-3, 7-6 (0)
Djokovic faced a tougher path to the final than Nadal since he dropped a set for the second consecutive match. He fell in two sets for the first time in the event as well.
In the first set, Djokovic fought off five break-point opportunities and finished with better numbers on first serve, second serve and at the net. Djokovic fended off two additional break-point chances from the No. 5 seed in the second set, while he converted on two of three breaks.
Tsitsipas finally earned the break he was looking for to shift the momentum in the third set. He earned the service break to level that set at five games apiece. Djokovic conceded another service loss at the end of the third set, as Tsitsipas won the final three games to force a fourth set.
The Greek looked strong in the fourth set by converting both of his break-point chances. Djokovic struggled with that aspect of his game by going 1-of-11 on break points.
Djokovic regained control of the match at the start of the fifth set, as he produced back-to-back breaks to put Tsitsipas under pressure. As the match inched closer to the four-hour mark, Djokovic broke open a four-game advantage in the final set.
Djokovic did not wait until his serve to complete the five-set victory, as he hit a winner down the right baseline on match point.
Nadal experienced less difficulty to get past Schwartzman, as he survived a third-set tiebreak against the Argentinian.
The Spanish southpaw remained on track to challenge for his 13th Roland Garros crown by winning all seven tiebreak points over the first-time Grand Slam semifinalist.
Schwartzman earned two of his three breaks in the third set, but he was unable to overpower the No. 2 seed in the tiebreak.
The Argentine committed a pair of unforced errors in the final four games of the tiebreak. He had 48 unforced errors, a total that doubled his amount of winners.
Nadal finished with 38 winners compared to 34 unforced errors and won 9 percent more of his receiving points.
The third-set tiebreak victory ensured Nadal would enter the final with a chance to have a perfect tournament. He defeated each of his six opponents in three sets.
To avoid losing a set at this French Open, Nadal would have to beat Djokovic in straight sets for the first time in a Grand Slam final.
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Statistics obtained from RolandGarros.com.