World no. 1 Novak Djokovic is through to his ninth Roland Garros semi-final and the first since 2016, defeating Alexander Zverev 7-5, 6-2, 6-2 in two hours and nine minutes. It was the 26th Grand Slam win in a row for the Serb who is two wins away from completing the second "Nole Slam" and hold all four Majors, facing Dominic Thiem in Friday's semi-final.
Novak is through to his 35th semi-final at this level, overcoming a slow start and never looking back after performing a comeback in the closing stages of the second set. Competing in his second consecutive quarter-final in Paris, Zverev gave his best in the first 50 minutes, hitting with authority and precision to overpower Novak, serving for the set at 5-4.
Calm and collected, Djokovic turned the things around to steal the opener and race towards the finish line from there, delivering his fifth straight victory since the start of the tournament and hoping for more of the same against the Austrian tomorrow.
Novak landed 24 winners and 18 unforced errors, taming his shots nicely in the last 80 minutes and leaving the young German on a 35-40 ratio and saving seven out of eight break points to mount the pressure on the other side of the net.
Alexander lost 45% of the points behind the initial shot, finding it harder and harder to make hold as the match progressed and suffering six breaks from 11 chances offered to Novak, none in the opening four service games!
Zverev wasted break points in games three and five and it looked he would not have to pay the price for that, breaking Djokovic in game nine for a 5-4 lead and a chance to close the set on own serve in the next game. Out of sudden, he started to miss more, allowing Novak to break back in game ten and clinch another one in game 12 after double faults from the 22-year-old for a 7-5 and a massive momentum ahead of the upcoming sets.
With the confidence on his side, Djokovic was on a higher level in set number two, losing only a couple of points on serve and scoring breaks in games two and eight for a 6-2 and thundering towards the finish line. Zverev wasted two break points at the beginning of the third set and rattled off the last four games of the match to book the place in the semis and stay on a historic quest.