Djokovic sparks trend break in Paris
With his spectacular win over Rafael Nadal in the roland garros semi-finals on Friday, Novak Djokovic not only caused a break in the trend, but once again proved the all-round he is. In the final match against Stéfanos Tsitsipás, the world number one can take a big step towards perhaps his most important goal on Sunday: the Grand Slam record.
Djokovic said his match against Nadal comes in the top three of the best sides of his career. For me, this semi-final will be in my top three matches I’ve ever been able to beat,” commentator Kristie Boogert said of the four-hour thriller in conversation with NU.nl.
Normally, it’s not a question of whether Nadal wins Roland Garros, but how many sets he loses on his way to the title. The Spaniard won 100 matches in Paris and lost only two, but as in 2015, it was Djokovic who knocked the gravel king off the throne in a spectacle on Friday.
“It was a really bizarrely good match,” said the 47-year-old Boogert, who is commenting on eurosport’s matches at Roland Garros. “Djokovic had his emotions very well under control. He also got good at those spin balls from Nadal, who struggled with that. Djokovic also looked incredibly fit. I hadn’t seen him as stable as I did against Nadal all tournament.” (Djokovic sparks trend break in Paris)
With his victory over Nadal, who was given a statue just before the tournament to honour his achievements in Paris, Djokovic once again showed that he is a key candidate to own the Grand Slam record. A win over Tsitsipás takes the world number one to 19 titles, one fewer than Nadal and five-year-old Roger Federer.
“Djokovic is the most all-rounder and already had the best chance of finishing with the Grand Slam record, but Nadal now offers him an opening to approach the record earlier,” Boogert said. “In fact, in a few weeks’ time the final will be wimbledon and djokovic could already be the record holder. On the grass in London it should normally go off even easier than in Paris.”
Djokovic sparks trend break in Paris
‘Tsitsipás will be nervous, but so will Djokovic’
First, Djokovic has yet to deal with Tsitsipás. The 22-year-old Greek, who lost in five sets to The Djoker in last year’s Roland Garros semi-finals, is making a good impression in Paris and has already settled with world number two Daniil Medvedev and Alexander Zverev, the world number six, on their way to the final. (Djokovic sparks trend break in Paris)
“Everything falls or stands for Djokovic with how he recovers,” Boogert said. “Tsitsipás’ five-setter against Zverev also expired energy, but that’s disproportionate to Djokovic’s battle of attrition against Nadal with all those long rallies.”
“Tsitsipás is an ornate player with an attractive playing style, which can also be very stoic. With the variety in his game, he can make it really difficult for Djokovic, but he has to play on top of his game and hope Djokovic isn’t fully fit yet. If he is back to normal on Sunday, it will be really difficult for him.”
Tsitsipás has reached the semi-finals of a Grand Slam tournament three times, but the experience of a final at one of the four major tournaments still misses the world number five. ‘This is really new territory for him mentally, but don’t forget djokovic can be nervous too. He was the underdog against favourite Nadal, but against Tsitsipás he is suddenly the man to beat and he has to show it. That’s easier said than done. Djokovic may be the world number one, but he’s not a robot.” (Djokovic sparks trend break in Paris)
The final between Djokovic and Tsitsipás begins on Court Philippe-Chatrier on Sunday at 3pm. Djokovic won Roland Garros only in 2016. If he beats Tsitsipás, he will become the first tennis player ever in the open era (since 1968) to have won all Grand Slam singles tournaments at least twice.
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