ATP Roland Garros: Novak Djokovic edges Tsitsipas to set ultimate Rafael Nadal clash



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ATP Roland Garros: Novak Djokovic edges Tsitsipas to set ultimate Rafael Nadal clash

World no. 1 Novak Djokovic scored the 36th victory from 37 matches in 2020, prevailing over Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3, 6-2, 5-7, 4-6, 6-2 in four hours. Thus, Djokovic is through to his fifth final in Paris, advancing to his 27th Major title match and facing Rafael Nadal in the anticipated Sunday's 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 stay alive. 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 and propelling Djokovic into the first title match in Paris in four years.

Tsitsipas was there to fight with Djokovic in the mid-range and most extended exchanges, losing ground in the shortest rallies up to four strokes. Novak had eight breaks and he let the serve away four times, recovering his strokes when it mattered the most to cross the finish line first.

Stefanos wasted five break chances in the opening set, four of those in the first game, offering one break opportunity to Novak, who converted it to steal the set 6-3. Digging deep right from the start, the Serb repelled those four break points in the opening game with four winners, producing bold hitting and avoiding an early setback.

The Greek had to pay the price already in the second game, suffering a break after a forehand crosscourt winner from Djokovic who opened a 2-0 advantage. The Serb placed a service winner for a hold at love in game three, moving further in front before Stefanos got his name on the scoreboard with a forehand crosscourt winner in game four.

Novak secured the fifth game at 15 after a service winner, staying ahead and saving a break point at 4-2. He did that after an incredible court coverage and a volley winner at the net, keeping his service games safe and seizing the fourth set point at 5-3 with a service winner.

Djokovic played his best tennis when it mattered the most in set number two, like in the opener, fending off both break chances and stealing Tsitsipas' serve twice for 6-2 and a massive step towards the finish line. Stefanos wasted those chances in game two, losing ground in the second part of the set and finding himself 3-2 down after dropping five straight points in the fifth game.

Novak confirmed the break and opened a 5-2 gap when the Greek sprayed a forehand mistake. Serving for the set, world no. 1 held at love following a service winner to open a 6-3, 6-2 gap in just over 80 minutes. Ready to give his best, Tsitsipas produced four fine holds in set number three, although that wasn't enough to keep him safe without creating chances on the return.

In the second game, he had one opportunity that Djokovic saved with a winner, keeping his serve intact and mounting the pressure on the other side of the net.

Novak Djokovic prevailed over Stefanos Tsitsipas in five sets.

They produced six straight commanding holds after that to stay locked at 4-4 before Novak grabbed a break that pushed him a game from the finish line.

The tenth game turned to be a rollercoaster ride, with Novak squandering a match point after a backhand error. In the end, Stefanos seized the third break chance of the game and 11th of the match when Novak's forehand landed long to level the score at 5-5 and prolong the clash.

The youngster held at 30 in the 11th game to move in front, creating a set point on the return that Djokovic repelled with a winner at the net. Not to be denied, Stefanos converted the second with a perfect forehand down the line winner to steal the set and force the fourth.

The Greek had to give his everything to survive the opening five service games there, fending off ten out of 11 break chances to remain in touch after forging an early 2-0 advantage. Stefanos fended off eight break opportunities in games five, seven and nine, forcing 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 youngest semi-finalist in Paris since 2009. Stefanos repelled a break point in the decider's first game with a brave attack, bringing the game home with a forehand winner for another massive boost.

Novak held at 15 to level the score at 1-1, converting the second break chance a few minutes later with a drop shot winner to open a 2-1 gap. The Serb forced an error from the Greek to confirm the advantage and forged a 3-1 lead, earning a break at 15 to move 4-1 in front.

Novak sealed the deal with a return winner in game seven, showing his class in the final set and staying on the 18th Major title course.