Seeking the second Roland Garros title and the 18th Major crown, Novak Djokovic had to beat Stefanos Tsitsipas and Rafael Nadal in the final two rounds. The Serb had to dig deep against the Greek, prevailing after four hours and losing energy ahead of the hardest obstacle in the title match.
Djokovic's coach Marian Vajda said that Novak couldn't play at his 100% against Nadal, staying on the court for five sets against Stefanos, although he should have won in three or four and preserve strength for the decisive clash against the 12-time champion.
In the final, Rafa defeated Novak 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 in two hours and 41 minutes, securing the 20th Major title after leaving Novak far behind. A few days earlier, Djokovic scored the 36th victory from 37 matches in 2020, prevailing over Tsitsipas 6-3, 6-2, 5-7, 4-6, 6-1 in three hours and 54 minutes for the 27th Major final and the fifth in Paris.
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 followed Djokovic's pace in the mid-range and most extended exchanges, losing ground in the shortest rallies up to four strokes. Novak scored eight breaks and let the serve away four times, starting all over in set number five to cross the finish line first and remain on the title course.
In the opener, Stefanos wasted four break chances in the opening game and suffered one break to hand the set to Novak.
Novak Djokovic needed almost four hours to beat Stefanos Tsitsipas at Roland Garros.
The Serb earned two breaks in set number two, moving closer to the finish line and looking good to seal the deal in straight sets.
Djokovic grabbed a break at 4-4 in the third set, serving 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, converting the second set point on the return at 6-5 with a forehand down the line winner to force the fourth set.
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, 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 Greek. Starting all over, Djokovic scored three straight breaks in the final set to move over the top, hoping for at least some chance against mighty Nadal.
"Paris was cold and windy, and many said that those conditions would suit Novak. However, Rafa delivered an excellent performance in the final, finding incredible depth with his strokes. Novak was not entirely at 100% after that semi-final marathon against Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Too bad that he lost the fourth set against the Greek, having to play a decider to advance and losing energy," Marian Vajda said.