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French Open: Djokovic ends Nadal's supremacy

Novak Djokovic

Bengaluru, June 12: World No.1 Novak Djokovic ended Rafael Nadal's supremacy at French Open as he beat the Spaniard 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-4), 6-2 in a marathon semifinal to set up a title clash with Stefanos Tsitsipas.

At the Philippe-Chartier Court in Roland Garros, the Serb dethroned Nadal in the last-four encounter which lasted four hours and 22 minutes.

In the process, Djokovic became the first player in ATP history to defeat Nadal in a Paris semifinal.

It was Nadal's just third loss in 108 games at the Parisian clay -- with his previous defeats coming -- against Robin Soderling in the 2009 quarteferfinal and to Djokovic at the same same stage in 2015 -- while he has notched up an incredible 105 victories.

With the win Djokovic improved his Roland Garros record over Nadal to 2-7.

Nadal vs Djokovic: Head-to-head record, Grand Slams recordNadal vs Djokovic: Head-to-head record, Grand Slams record

The victory helped Djokovic earn a title clash with Greece's Tsitsipas.

The 22-year-old, earlier, fended off a tremendous fightback from Germany's Alexander Zverev (6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 4-6, 6-3) to become the first player from his country to reach a Grand Slam singles final.

Tsitsipas makes history for Greece with epic semi-final win over ZverevTsitsipas makes history for Greece with epic semi-final win over Zverev

Djokovic earned one of the biggest wins of his career against Nadal in their blockbuster Roland Garros semifinal, which was one of the best matches of the season, full of twists, turns and sensational tennis.

The odds were stacked against the Djokovic as Nadal was 105-2 at the clay-court Grand Slam and 7-1 at this tournament against him.

But Djokovic showed incredible mental fortitude and physical skill in a hard-fought win against the King of Clay.

The top seed lost the first five games and appeared in danger of letting the match slip away. But Djokovic never let slip his focus against the 13-time champion as he foiled Nadal's bid for a record 21st Grand Slam title.

Nadal was trying to win a record 21st Grand Slam title this fortnight, which would have moved him past Roger Federer to stand alone atop the all-time list.

Federer had pulled out midway through the tournament.

French Open surprise as Federer withdraws from Roland GarrosFrench Open surprise as Federer withdraws from Roland Garros

But now Djokovic is one victory from completing a second Career Grand Slam and earn his 19th major crown, which would put him within one of Federer and Nadal.

Standing between him and victory is 2019 World ATP Tour Finals winner Tsitsipas. The final will be held on Sunday (June 13).

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Story first published: Saturday, June 12, 2021, 3:15 [IST]
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