Novak Djokovic spent three and a half hours on the court against Matteo Berrettini in the Roland Garros quarter-final, beating the Italian 6-3, 6-2, 6-7, 7-5 for his 11th semi-final in Paris. Djokovic played on a high level to secure 44 winners and 19 unforced errors, taming his strokes nicely and offering Berrettini only three break chances.
However, the Italian failed to convert any, and the Serb had the upper hand in the opening two sets after fantastic returns that took all the power off from Berrettini. Matteo recovered his game in the third set, saved the only break point and stood 4-5 behind in the tie break.
Instead of bringing the victory home, Djokovic sprayed too massive errors to hand the set to his rival. They both served well until 6-5 for Novak in the fourth set before Matteo cracked under pressure, losing serve on the third match point and pushing world no.
1 over the top. Sharing his thoughts, Djokovic praised the Italian as a talented player with a lethal forehand. Also, he stated that he should have sealed the deal in the third set, still pleased with how he played ahead of the historical Rafael Nadal match.
Novak declared that the clash had everything and that he played under a lot of stress, which forced a wild and loud celebration once he crossed the finish line in the fourth.
Novak Djokovic had to work hard to beat Matteo Berrettini in Paris.
"The match could have ended earlier when I served at 5-4 in the third set tie break.
Instead, the crowd picked Berrettini up, and he played powerful tennis, especially in sets three and four. It wasn't easy to read his initial shot and compete against such a talented player. He can play on a high level from the baseline, and his forehand is a massive weapon.
When he plays at his best, it's tough to beat him. The match had it all; ups and downs, the crowd, intensity and a tie break. I felt like I was tense all the time and that I missed opportunities in the third set. It was very stressful to be under pressure all the time on my serve.
But, at the end, the reaction was liberating for me after all the tension that had been accumulating during the encounter," Novak Djokovic said.