Rafael Nadal reached his 15th French Open semifinals early Wednesday, defeating old rival Novak Djokovic in a four-set victory over last night. The 13-time Roland Garros champion won the 59th meeting of the pair’s career 6-2, 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (7/4) after four hours and 12 minutes of quarterfinals. Court Philip Chatterjee
Nadal sealed his eighth victory in 10 French Open matches against last year’s winner Djokovic, setting up a last-four bout against third seed Alexander Zverev on Friday.
“I’m very emotional, it’s incredible for me to play here,” Nadal said. “It simply came to our notice then.
“Playing against him is always an amazing challenge … the only way to win against Novak is to do your best from the first point to the last.”
The 35-year-old Paris Clay has lost just three of his 113 matches since his 2005 title-winning debut and is now 30-29 behind Djokovic in his career.
The Spaniard, fifth seed, is on track to expand his 22nd Grand Slam title record since lifting this year’s Australian Open, which Djokovic did not remember after being deported as a cod vaccine.
Djokovic reversed the deficit of double break to take the second set of 88 minutes and lost two set points while serving the fourth to force the decisive.
The world number one will regret those missed opportunities as he awaits the next opportunity to take his slam number to 21 at Wimbledon.
“Congratulations to Rafa, he was better at the crucial moment,” Djokovic said.
“He showed why he was a great champion. Well done to him and his team, they deserve it.”
Nadal was a bit of an underdog who took part in the match after being taken to five sets by Felix Oger-Eliasim in the previous round.
The cold, sluggish conditions of the night session will also favor Djokovic.
But the ‘King of Clay’ defeated 57 winners in trademark performances to appease the crowd as he avenged his semi-final defeat to the same rival 12 months ago.
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