The 13-time Roland Garros champion, Rafael Nadal, has reached his 15th semifinal in his favorite Grand Slam after a historic night on the Philippe-Chatrier court. Rafa dispatched world No. 1 and defending champion Novak Djokovic 6-2 4-6 6-2 7-6 in four hours and 12 minutes to reach his 37th Major semifinal. Rafa brought down Novak for the 29th time in 59 meetings and added the 20th win over the biggest rival on clay and the eighth at Roland Garros from ten meetings. Thus, the Spaniard avenged the defeat in the semifinals last year against the Serbian and earned the opportunity to fight for the 22nd title of a Major in the remainder of the tournament. Despite the cold, heavy and slow conditions of the Philippe-Chatrier court, Nadal got the best of him to beat Djokovic after another marathon that will remain in the memory of tennis fans for a long time. Novak recovered in the second set and went all out for Rafa in the fourth, but missed a set point and lost the tie break. If Alexander Zverev wins the title, he will become a new world number 1 after Roland Garros, as Djokovic loses too many points. Rafa made the difference with his second serve, keeping him safe and outplaying Novak in the crucial moments. Nadal saved eight of 12 break chances and converted 43% of return points in seven breaks from 17 chances. The Spaniard dictated the pace with 57 winners and 43 unforced errors, leaving the Serb in a 48-53 ratio. Unlike 12 months ago, Rafa had a huge advantage in the shorter range, up to four shots.
Kafelnikov talks about Djokovic
Former World No. 1 Yevgeny Kafelnikov recently gave his thoughts on the impressive Roland Garros quarterfinal match between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal on Tuesday. “From the first point, it was clear that Novak… I don’t know what, but something bothered him. I hope it’s not physical and I don’t think it is because he ran well and covered the field. Maybe it was mental, because everyone at Philippe Chatrier was cheering for Nadal. The man has won Roland Garros 13 times and the fans are definitely emotionally fond of him,” he said. “I think it bothered Novak a little. I’m sure the Paris audience loves Novak too, but with Rafa, it’s a special story. I understand Novak, but I also understand the sympathy of the audience towards Rafa,” said Kafelnikov.