The recently finished Roland Garros was the first Major with Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in the same half of the draw. World no. 1 Djokovic led the field against his biggest rivals, seeking the second Major crown of the season and the first in Paris in five years.
When the draw came out, Novak was projected to face Roger Federer in the quarters and Rafael Nadal in the semis, not liking his path towards the trophy but feeling confident about his game. Novak's coach Goran Ivanisevic was satisfied with his pupil's draw, avoiding Nadal in the final like a year ago.
In the end, Novak had to play only against Rafa, as Roger withdrew after three victories. Competing at Majors for the first time in almost 500 days, Roger defeated Denis Istomin, Marin Cilic and Dominik Kopefer en route to the last 16, where he should have faced Matteo Berrettini.
Still, the Swiss stayed on the court for three and a half hours against the German in a tight four-setter victory, deciding to withdraw and preserve energy for Halle and Wimbledon. Thus, Novak faced the Italian in the quarters and beat him in three and a half hours for a place in the last four.
Berrettini battled hard and won the third set before Djokovic crossed the finish line with a late break in the fourth to set an anticipated Rafael Nadal clash in the semis.
Goran Ivanisevic spoke about Novak Djokovic's path at Roland Garros.
Never losing a match after passing the quarter-final stage in Paris, the 13-time winner Nadal had no answer for Novak's game last Friday, as the Serb scored a 3-6, 6-3, 7-6, 6-2 victory in four hours and 11 minutes.
Despite a perfect start in the opener, Nadal couldn't match Djokovic's pace, wasting a set point in the third and fading from the court in the next one to propel Novak into the title clash against Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Seeking the 19th Major crown, Novak came from two sets to love down against the Greek to lift the second Parisian trophy and move closer to Federer and Nadal in the GOAT race. "I was saying before that Novak stands more chances against Rafa in the semis than in the final. Novak wasn't pleased when he saw Roger and Rafa in his half, although I liked it," Goran Ivanisevic said.