The 3rd seed Novak Djokovic will play in his 12th Roland Garros semi-final, facing world no. 1 Carlos Alcaraz in Friday's blockbuster. Novak played against Karen Khachanov in the quarter-final and earned a 4-6, 7-6, 6-2, 6-4 victory in three hours and 38 minutes on Court Philippe-Chatrier.
Djokovic was not pleased with his tennis in the opening two sets, struggling with his movement and creating no break chances. However, he reached the second set's tie break and claimed it 7-0 to gain a boost and switch momentum to his side.
Novak admitted it was a turning point, playing better after that and sealing the deal in four sets despite a minor setback in the encounter's closing stages. The Russian made a perfect start, losing six points behind the initial shot in the opener and taming his strokes nicely.
Novak counted 17 unforced errors and dropped 42% of the points in his games. The Serb faced seven break points and lost serve once to propel the rival in front. Karen created five break chances at 2-2 and seized the last with a forehand crosscourt winner.
Novak Djokovic defeated Karen Khachanov in four sets in Paris.
The Russian produced fine holds in games six and eight and created two set points on the return at 5-3. Novak denied them and held to prolong the set before Karen wrapped it up with a service winner in game ten for 6-4 after 56 minutes.
There was nothing to separate them in set number two, with Khachanov still sailing through his service games and Djokovic raising his level to follow that pace. The Russian held after deuces in game 12 to introduce a tie break, hoping to open two sets to love advantage.
Novak moved 2-0 up with a backhand down the line winner and fired a forehand down the line winner for 3-0. The Serb won the following two points behind his serve for 5-0 and cracked another backhand down the line bullet for 6-0 and six set points.
Novak seized the first with a volley winner at the net to seal the set in style and level the overall score after two hours and three minutes. With a boost on his side, Djokovic dropped one point behind the initial shot in the third set and kept the pressure on the other side.
Novak broke in games one and seven to open a 5-2 gap and held at love in game eight to seal the set and move closer to the finish line. The Serb led 4-2, 40-15 in the fourth set before the Russian survived the seventh game and broke back in the next one to lock the result at 4-4.
Starting all over, a two-time champion broke again at love in the ninth game with a deep return and landed an ace down the T line at 5-4 for a hold at love and a place in the last four. "The tie break was probably the turning point.
Losing the second set would have made quite a difference. We can talk about two different matches. I probably played my worst tennis in the tournament in the opening two sets. The third and fourth were much better. I held my nerves in the second set's tie break and perfectly played every point.
It boosted my confidence, and I started swinging through the ball more, feeling more comfortable on the court. The third set was really good, and I controlled everything until 4-2, 40-15 in the fourth. However, I played three or four loose strokes and complicated my life after losing serve in game eight. Still, I regrouped quickly and played perfectly the last eight points to emerge at the top," Novak Djokovic said.
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