Novak Djokovic and Stefanos Tsitsipas will play for the Roland Garros title on Sunday. The Serb is seeking the 19th Major crown, and the young Greek his first, never reaching a Major final before. Novak and Stefanos had to work hard in the semi-final encounters, with Novak beating the 13-time winner Rafael Nadal after four hours and 11 minutes and Stefanos toppling Alexander Zverev in five sets.
In the last year's semi-final, Djokovic defeated Tsitsipas 6-3, 6-2, 5-7, 4-6, 6-1 in three hours and 54 minutes for the 27th Major final. Tsitsipas was there to fight in the opening two sets, losing the crucial points to fall behind and saving a match point at 4-5 in the third to extend the encounter.
The Greek stole that set and seized the fourth after fending off ten out of 11 break chances, overpowering Novak before running out of gas in the final set. Tsitsipas followed Djokovic's pace in the mid-range and most extended exchanges but lost ground in the shortest rallies up to four strokes.
Novak scored eight breaks and gave serve away four times, starting all over in set number five to cross the finish line first and remain on the title course. Stefanos wasted four break chances in the opening game and suffered a single break to hand the set to Novak.
The Serb earned two breaks in set number two and looked good to seal the deal in straight sets. Djokovic grabbed a break at 4-4 in the third set and served for the victory in game ten. Stefanos saved a match point and converted the 11th break opportunity to level the score at 5-5 and extend the clash.
The youngster held at 30 in the 11th game to move in front and converted the second set point at 6-5 with a forehand down the line winner to force the fourth set.
Novak Djokovic will play against Stefanos Tsitsipas for the Roland Garros title.
The Greek worked hard to fend off ten out of 11 break chances in set number four and remain in touch after forging an early 2-0 advantage.
Stefanos fended off eight break opportunities in games five, seven and nine and forced Novak to serve for staying in the set. The Serb couldn't endure the pressure, wasting two game points and suffering a break following a loose drop shot to hand the set to the Greek and add more drama.
Starting all over, Djokovic grabbed three straight return games in the final set to move over the top and set the ultimate clash against the clay king Rafael Nadal. "It's not the first time I have played an epic Major semi-final, and then I have to come back in under 48 hours and play the final.
My recovery abilities have been pretty good, I must say, throughout my career. Obviously, my physiotherapist will try to do everything possible so I can be fresh. I have played enough tennis recently, and I don't need to train too much.
It's just about taking things slowly until the day of the title match, and I know what I have to do. Tsitsipas in his first Major final, and it's an outstanding achievement, although I'm sure he doesn't want to stop there.
He is in great form, and I think he leads the ATP Race to Turin. He has had his best results recently, and I think he has matured as a player. Clay arguably is his best surface. We played an epic five-setter last year in the semis here in Paris, and I know it's going to be another tough one.
I'm hoping I can recharge my batteries as much as I can because I'm going to need power and energy for that one," Novak Djokovic said.