World no. 1 Novak Djokovic was a man on the mission at Majors this year, winning 27 out of 28 matches and barely missing a calendar Grand Slam. In June, Djokovic battled past Rafael Nadal in the Roland Garros semi-final, prevailing 3-6, 6-3, 7-6, 6-2 after four hours and 11 minutes to deliver Nadal's third loss in Paris in the last 17 appearances!
Despite losing the previous five matches on clay against Rafa, Novak was determined to beat the king of clay on his beloved court and advance into the sixth Roland Garros final, especially after that terrible defeat to the Spaniard in the last year's title clash.
Djokovic did everything right to cross the finish line first, hitting 50 winners and overpowering Rafa in the shortest and more extended exchanges to secure his greatest ever win in Paris. Novak trailed 5-0 in the opener before finding the rhythm, fending off break chances at the end of the second set, saving a set point in the third and toppling Rafa in the fourth to emerge at the top and remain on the title course.
Novak Djokovic praised his performance after an epic win over Rafael Nadal.
"It was the best match I was ever part of at Roland Garros and among the top three encounters that I've ever played. The quality of tennis was high, and I faced my biggest rival on the court where he has had so much success over the past 15 years.
The atmosphere was utterly electric, and both of us had much support; it was just amazing. It's hard to find words bigger than all the superlatives you can think of for Rafa's achievements at Roland Garros. He has been the most dominant player in Roland Garros history.
He has lost three matches at this event in his entire career. He's been playing here for almost two decades, and that achievement speaks for itself. The amount of wins that he has made on this court is incredible. Each time you step on the court with him, you know that you must climb Mount Everest to beat him.
I had won only once in our eight matches on Court Philippe-Chatrier; I tried to take some positives and cues from that victory over Rafa in 2015 and implement those elements tonight, which worked out nicely. It's one of these matches that I will remember for a very long time, not just because I won but because of the atmosphere and a special occasion," Novak Djokovic said.