17-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic admitted he wasn't particularly thrilled with the way he finished the third and fourth set of his French Open semifinal clash against world No. 6 Stefanos Tsitsipas. Djokovic, seeded at No.
1, blew a great chance to clinch a comfortable straight-set win as he failed to serve out for the match in the third set. But the Serb kept his composure and managed to beat the Greek in five sets 6-3 6-2 5-7 4-6 6-1. In the third set, Djokovic was serving for the match in the 10th game but he blew a match point and Tsitsipas broke back for 5-5.
The Greek then served out his game and broke Djokovic in the 12th game to win the third set. In the fourth set, Tsitsipas broke Djokovic in the 10th game to force a decider. Tsitsipas then served out the opening game of the fifth set, before Djokovic won six games in a row to claim the win in style.
"I was definitely not pleased with how I played the finishing stages of the 3rd and 4th set, but I was very pleased with the way I kept my composure throughout the entire match. I did feel that even though I lost the 3rd and 4th, I felt I was the better player," Djokovic said in his press conference after beating Tsitsipas, per Max Gao.
Djokovic says Rafael Nadal is his greatest rival
Djokovic is set to clash Nadal in the French Open final as the Spaniard saw off Argentine Diego Schwartzman in straight sets in the first men's semifinal. Djokovic, a 17-time Grand Slam champion, is aiming to only his second French Open title, while record 12-time French Open champion Nadal is seeking his fourth consecutive title at Roland Garros.
"That would be an icing on the cake. I hopefully will be able to play my tennis because that’s what’s gonna be needed, but I’m in position to be close to the trophy. I’ve been there, I’ve done it, I know what needs to be done," Djokovic said of potentially winning the French Open.
Djokovic showed his respect for Nadal ahead of the final. "I’ve played him more than any other player in my career. He’s definitely my greatest rival. Playing him in so many great matches, the past will have some effect in terms of respect towards each other and motivation to get out there and play your best," Djokovic said of Nadal.