World No 1 Novak Djokovic has become the first tennis player in history to defeat the 13-time champion, Rafael Nadal, in the Roland Garros men’s singles semi-final and reach the final of the French Open 2021.
The Serbian, who also defeated Nadal in the quarter-finals in 2015, sealed a remarkable 3-6 6-3 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 victory against Nadal in four hours and 22 minutes at Court Philippe Chatrier on Friday night to advance to the French Open final.
Nadal won the first five games of the match. But Djokovic seized the momentum, winning the second set and then edging a quite unbelievable 93-minute third set in arguably one of the greatest tie-breaks of all time.
Nadal was given a long ovation as he made his exit from the court, leaving Djokovic to try to sum up what had just happened.
“The first thing I want to say is it was my privilege also to be on the court with Rafa in this incredible match,” he said. “It is surely the best match I have played here in Paris. It’s also the match with the best atmosphere, ambience, and energy.”
In the final on Sunday, Djokovic will take on Stefanos Tsitsipas – winner of a five-set contest with Alexander Zverev earlier on Friday.