Rafa Nadal played the final match at Roland Garros. Yes, that's right... He contested one of the semifinals in the Parisian tournament. Nadal is 35 and will soon turn 36. He went back in time and wore the work overalls he wore when he was just 20 years old. He knocked out Novak Djokovic in a match worth fifteen semifinals for the Balearic Islands.
Nadal exclaimed, "It's amazing," excitedly. After the four-hour battle to defeat the Serbian, these were Nadal's first words. This was a victory few believed in. Because of the conditions, television decided to place him on the ropes in the night shift. This was the most difficult for his tennis. He was 35 years old and just days away from turning 36. He had only played for four hours the previous day. He won.
Djokovic may have been lethargic by the favoritism. He was even shocked at Nadal's level. Djokovic started with his forehand full capacity and a command over the court that made it impossible to tell if it was day, night or as if he will play in Belgrade.
Nadal desired to play for two sets and a half. Nadal's level reminded me of the 2020 final. It was in October, mid-autumn, and Nadal won. Djokovic left with a donut'. It was a full remembrance of the past, and it wasn't long before number one came back. Nadal suffered a physical decline and the Serb received a wake up call. He went from 3-0 to 30-15 in the second set, but then went on to win 6-1.
The match was won and the score indicated that it had been even. However, the battle was intense with only two hours of play between the two sets. It was a long night in Paris. The spectators had prepared blankets for the event. Only a few brave souls who wore Philippe Chatriers were able to survive the gaping spaces in the stands. The show was hurt by the organization's decision not to place the best match at night.
He didn't slow down on the track, at least not for the visual. After losing the second set, Nadal went to the toilet and changed the inertia. Djokovic lost his mental edge and cooled down as the third set slipped away. Nadal's dropshots brought him up to 29. His percentage at the net was more than 70%. Djokovic's backhand mistakes, which increased his score to 30 allowed him to come back to the surface with a huge advantage. The Spaniard has never lost to Djokovic in a match, and they have only reached the fifth set three times.
This was to be the fourth. Djokovic held it in his hands. Advantage of 4-1, and 5-2. To force the final set, he served twice and served once. He was awarded two set points. He was within one point of winning the match against Nadal in Paris, his third career win. It didn't happen.
Nadal won the tiebreaker after he went from 5-2 to 5-5. This was the 19th match of their rivalry. They were tied at nine until that point, which tipped the match in Nadal's favor. It was not without another rollercoaster ride. The Spaniard was given a 6-1, which is five match points. He lost the first four. Djokovic took four of his breaths before he lost it to Djokovic who fell with the final match point that Nadal won with a stunning backhand.
Manacor's Manacor man makes it to his 15th semi-final in Paris. This round is the first time that he has won the title every time he played. Alexander Zverev will be Carlos Alcaraz’s executioner. He is 6-3 ahead of him on clay.