Novak Djokovic forgets his Rafael Nadal match, but who can blame him

Novak Djokovic thought he played his first Major semi-final at the 2007 US Open, while it came a bit earlier

by Jovica Ilic
Novak Djokovic forgets his Rafael Nadal match, but who can blame him

When you reach 44 Major semi-finals, it's hard to remember all of them, especially after stretching them to almost 16 years! Novak Djokovic secured his 44th Major semi-final following a commanding 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 triumph over Andrey Rublev at the Australian Open.

It was another flawless performance from the Serb at Rod Laver Arena, doing everything right and leaving the opponent far behind. Speaking with Jim Courier after the match, Novak tried to recall his first Major semi-final. He mentioned the 2007 US Open, although it actually came three months earlier in Paris!

Djokovic made his first semi-final appearance at Majors at Roland Garros a couple of weeks after turning 20. Novak faced Rafael Nadal for the second straight year in Paris and gave his everything in a 7-5, 6-4, 6-2 loss after two hours and 28 minutes.

Nadal saved four out of six break points and stole Djokovic's serve six times from nine opportunities to emerge at the top. Novak sprayed 40 unforced errors and failed to overpower Rafa in sets one and two.

Novak Djokovic played his first Major semi-final at Roland Garros 2007.

The Serb followed the pace of the defending champion in the shortest rallies, and Nadal forged his advantage in the more advanced ones.

Novak delivered a couple of good holds in the encounter's early stages before Rafa fired a forehand down the line winner at 2-2 to provide his first break. The Spaniard grabbed another break at 4-2 to extend the lead and serve for the opener.

Nadal hit a double fault in game eight to lose serve and bring the rival back to 3-5. Novak saved two set points on serve in game nine and clinched his second consecutive break in the next one to lock the result at 5-5 and gain a boost.

Nadal stayed focused and landed a forehand down the line winner in game 11 for his third break. The Spaniard made no mistakes while serving for the set for the third time, holding at 15 with a forehand winner for 7-5 in over an hour.

Djokovic claimed the opening seven points of the second set for a hold at love and three break chances in game two. However, Nadal took five straight points to bring it home and avoid an early setback. Novak saved a break point in game three to remain competitive before Rafa stroked a forehand down the line winner at 3-3 to build the advantage.

Nadal saved a break point at 5-4 with an ace and wrapped up the set for a massive lead. Rafa broke at 15 at the start of the third set and extended the gap with a forehand crosscourt winner at 2-0. The Spaniard held in game four with a forehand winner and fired a smash winner at 4-1 to move closer to the finish line.

The defending champion fired a forehand winner at 5-2 to seal the deal and defeat Djokovic in the Serb's first Major semi-final.

Novak Djokovic Rafael Nadal Us Open