Jurgen Melzer continued his surprising 2010 French Open run by upsetting Novak Djokovic 3-6, 2-6, 6-2, 7-6(3), 6-4 in the French Open quarterfinals today.
Melzer will meet another lefty, Rafael Nadal, on Friday in his first trip ever to a Grand Slam semifinal.
“Right now I enjoy the moment,” Melzer said. “I have still tomorrow to think about Nadal. I played the biggest match of my life just maybe an hour ago. Of course you want to have a straight mindset when you think about Nadal. At the moment, that wouldn’t be possible.”
The 29-year-old Austrian had never come back from a two set hole while his counterpart, Djokovic, has never surrendered such a lead. The Serb lead by two sets and a break before falling apart.
“Well, I changed the match,” Melzer said of his comeback. “Well, the only thing I told myself, It’s my first quarterfinals in my life in a Grand Slam. Just don’t go away. Just don’t make it easy for him. Fight as much as you can, and I was I wasn’t playing so bad. I just missed a lot of easy shots when I had the chance and the opportunity to finish the point. And after that, I mean, I got back in, and at 2 All in the third it was an open match. I think I got a little under the skin after the third set. I should win the fourth set probably earlier than I actually did, and then the fifth was just a battle.”
Added Djokovic, “But I made a big mistake, you know, there. I made him come back into the match with my unforced errors, and then he caught the momentum and he was playing really well, especially on his service games. Yeah, I’m very disappointed, obviously, to lose the match that I was in control of totally a set and a break. This is tennis, you know. This is Grand Slams. You always have to play up to the end, because these things happen, especially at this stage of tournament.”
Nadal won in straight sets beating Almagro for a seventh straight time, but it wasn’t easy. Almagro raced out to an early 3-0 lead in the first set before Nadal leveled. And with the exception of the two breakers the match was played on even terms until Nadal broke Almagro late in the third set.
“Well, it was hard all the time,” said Nadal who celebrates his 24th birthday on Thursday. “Well, not at the beginning. It was rather easy at the beginning, even for him. I think that, yes, it was a difficult match, especially from a mental standpoint. I had to return well, and I had the feeling that I was not capable of playing the way I wanted because he was so powerful. I had to be very careful on the serve because I could make mistakes, and this is what I did. At the beginning I lost my serve, and then I managed to win his serve and not to allow him to break me. When I really needed to play my best tennis, I had the opportunity of doing that. So I’m very happy I played this match in three sets, because it was very difficult.”
Nadal has now won 20 straight matches on tour and 35 of his last 36 at Roland Garros. If he wins his fifth French Open title he’ll also overtake Roger Federer for the No. 1 ranking. He and Tomas Berdych are the only players who haven’t lost a set this French Open.
In the other Friday semifinal Berdych plays Roger Federer-conquerer Robin Soderling.
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