ATP Roland Garros: Novak Djokovic downs Matteo Berrettini to set Rafael Nadal clash

World no. 1 Novak Djokovic is through to his 11th Roland Garros semi-final and the 40th at Majors thanks to a 6-3, 6-2, 6-7, 7-5 triumph over Matteo Berrettini in three hours and 28 minutes. Thus, Novak has set the semi-final clash against the 13-time champion Rafael Nadal on Friday, facing the Spaniard for the 58th time and seeking revenge for the last year’s final defeat. Matteo failed to break Novak’s serve from three chances, feeling the pressure all the time and failing to bring another tie break in the fourth set as he did in the previous one. The Serb had a massive advantage on the court in the opening two sets, taming the opponent’s serve and forehand and serving well to move closer to the finish line. The Italian found his range in the third set, saved a break point in game nine and stole the breaker to stay alive. Nonetheless, Djokovic kept his composure in the fourth and sealed the deal on the third match point at 6-5 to remain on the title course.

Novak Djokovic defeated Matteo Berrettini in four sets.

Novak ruled the court with 44 winners and 19 unforced errors, never losing serve and producing four breaks that carried him home without playing a potential decider. The Serb had the upper hand in the shortest and more extended rallies, doing everything right on the court and hoping for more of the same in the clash of the titans versus Nadal. The world’s leading player fended off those break points in three different service games in the opener and moved in front with a break in game four when Matteo sprayed a forehand error. Serving for the opener at 5-3, Djokovic painted a forehand winner to secure it in 51 minutes and gather momentum ahead of set number two. As was expected, the Serb played an even better set, serving well and earning back-to-back breaks for a commanding 6-2. Matteo sent a forehand long in the fifth game and fell further behind when Novak broke him in game seven following a marvelous defense.

The Serb closed the set with a hold at 30, and was a massive favorite to seal the deal in the third. Instead of that, Matteo raised his level and faced only one break point at 4-4, erasing it to reach a tie break where Djokovic made two massive errors at 5-4, entirely out of nowhere. Berrettini forced Djokovic’s error in the 12th point to take the set and prolong the encounter, gathering momentum ahead of the fourth. They both served well until 6-5 for Novak before Matteo cracked under pressure, losing serve on the third match point and pushing Novak over the top.