Nadal, Djokovic French Open SF Set After Both Drop Sets
by Staff | June 9th, 2021, 11:06 pm

The dream French Open semifinal between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic is all set for late Friday afternoon.

The two legends of the game will meet for a 58th time with Djokovic holding the slight 29-28 edge.

Nadal advanced after pulling away from a determined Diego Schwartzman 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-0 in a rematch of their 2020 semifinal in Paris. Nadal had his set-streak snapped at 36 when Schwartzman grabbed the second set to the road of the 5,000 fans in Chatrier.

Nadal didn’t take kindly throwing in a bagel in a fourth set he won 30-5 in points.

“I started badly in the second set, then I was able to come back,” said Nadal. “But at 4-4, returning with the wind, I played a bad game and hit a double fault in the next game. I needed to play more aggressively and I did so throughout the rest of the match. I won an important match today against a tough opponent. I was able to find a way to play my best tennis in the moments that I really needed to.”

Nadal now leads the Argentine 11-1 and he ups his current win streak at the event to 35 and he’s 105-2 overall at the event. And once Rafa reaches the semifinals, he’s a perfect 26-0 at Roland Garros.

Djokovic also dropped a set in a 6-3, 6-2, 6-7(5), 7-5 win over the big-hitting Italian Matteo Berrettini. Djokovic dominated early blunting Berrettini’s power, but the big guy wouldn’t go away in the third. Then with Djokovic about to slam the door serving up 5-4 in third set breaker, Berrettini won three straight points to force a fourth.

The first night crowd of the week was well engaged despite the clock closing in on the 11pm curfew. At 10:45pm with the score 2-1, fans were asked to leave, but many didn’t. So on the next changeover at 3-2, players left the court so security could remove the many remaining fans. Once they left, play resumed about 20 minutes later.

Djokovic took a tumble falling on his hand which drew some blood. Otherwise, the two were crushing the ball. But at serving 5-6, Berrettini began to fade and an emotional Djokovic charged himself up and got it done to reach his 11th French Open semifinal.

“This match had it all: falls, crowd, break. It was a lot of intensity,” said Djokovic.

“I just felt under tension the entire time. I felt like I missed some of the chances to end the match in the third set. I didn’t want to give him too much opportunities to dictate the match. That’s why it was just super, super stressful to constantly be under pressure on my service games because his service games were quite smooth with the big serve.

“Yeah, the reaction in the end was just me liberating that tension that was building up for the entire match.”

Berrettini was the last of a great group of Italian men.

“I’m really proud of myself, really proud of my team, what we achieved,” Berrettini said. “I’m really happy, but at the same time I don’t want to stop here. I’m still young. This is my second quarterfinals in a Slam. I don’t want to stop here.”

Djokovic will now take a 9-match win streak into the semifinal against Rafa.

“The quality and the level of tennis that I’ve been playing in the last three, four weeks on clay – Rome, Belgrade and here – is giving me good sensations and feelings ahead of that match,” Djokovic said. “I’m confident. I believe I can win, otherwise I wouldn’t be here. Let’s have a great battle.”

Nadal leads 19-7 over Djokovic on clay and 7-1 at the French Open.

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16 Comments for Nadal, Djokovic French Open SF Set After Both Drop Sets

Nits Says:

All wishes fulfilled. Now the unbearable wait begins till the first serve.

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Two absolute legends. This is going to be amazing. What a drop in stature from these guys to the rest of the field, especially on clay.
Nadal in 5.

Dave Says:

They messed up the scheduling again. If the first match goes for 5 hours, the Nadal vs Djokovic match won’t start until after 8 or 8:30. So the curfew issue could happen again. If it goes 5 sets, I pick Djokovic more in the 5th. I don’t trust Nadals cardio anymore. I’ve seen him look gassed against Tsitsipas in Australia, he had to serve and Volly against Medvedev in the 5th in New York and barely held on to win. And he’s 35 now. Nadal is the favourite, but needs to win in 4 in my opinion.

Van Persie Says:

My heart tells me: Nole wins it in 4😉
But the title might go to Sash or Tsitsi.

lylenubbins Says:

covid 19 stopped last year, no need for a curfew, totally idiotic.

Dave Says:

Van Persie,

The amount of determination and fire he has this year reminds of before he had ever won the French Open, wanting to win it so badly in 2013-2016. I don’t know if he will win tomorrow. But I do know he will show up with everything he has and go at Nadal like 2013 and actually defend properly and not bail out of points all the time like last years final. At the very least, it will be a more competitive match. Nadal could have easily dropped sets to Popryn, Sinner and did lose a set to Diego yesterday. And honestly, at times, Nadals serve looks terrible. It was the complete opposite last year. Nadal was serving better than Djokovic. This year Djokovic is serving way better than Nadal. Nadals forehand however is at it’s absolute peak. He’s hitting it amazing. I’m curious to see Djokovic slowball Nadal on serve and force Nadal to change his return position. It’s not advantageous for Nadal to stand 6 meters back to return a 118km serve from Djokovic. I’m sure this tactic change was for Nadal. He has never served 118 to 130km so much before with crazy higher kickers. It’s going to be really interesting how this works. Nadal is a master at adjusting. I just don’t think he will feast on return games like last years final. Djokovic is serving too well and with lots of variety, even slow balling first serves at times. Even hitting 201km first serves at times.

Van Persie Says:


After Diego took the 2nd set, Rafa’s serve got amazing, but can he do it for 3,4-5 sets?

Nole wants this badly, agree.. Rafa aswell, but have the feeling, the winner of this RG comes from the other semi. But then, I did not expect it before the tournament, that both Nole ans Rafa would reach semis. Had my doubts more regarding Nole.

I will enjoy this Rafole semi, as it wouls be a final. 😉 Nole will make it up for last year🙂

j-kath Says:

The timing of the French Open was indeed lucky given the new spread of the Indian virus in Europe. Even with the JAG, UK hospitals are filling up again – although the death rate has slowed. With Wimbledon on the horizon, fingers crossed.

So who will win the French – Rafa or Novak? It’s going to be close but I think it will be Rafa.

Dave Says:

Yes I saw that Rafa was on fire for a bit. But overall the whole tournament it hasn’t been consistent and he has served a lot of double faults. And it hasn’t just been him missing first serves. But the way he has been missing the first serves has been the problem.

chrisford1 Says:

TV – How are to assess competition now? By stature?? Or ability and threat?
I saw a lot of talent on the men’s side and even with less accumulated ‘stature’ Tsitsi, Sasha, Sinner, Musetti have ability and tons more stature awaiting them as they progress in the ATP.

But I will venture what might actually be the order of prestige.
If someone beats Rafa, that counts more than getting the title without beating Rada, even if the person beating Rafa doesn’t win the Final.
And if Rafa wins again? Oh, oh hum, business as usual!

No comment on “The Scream”? by Djokovic?
Looking like one of his meat-eating warrior ancestors!

Said it was to dispel tension from the Berrettini match. I think it is more to immediately turn to psyching himself up for Rafa. He passively behaved like a blob of Tofu the 1st set and a half last year’s FO Final , got bageled, when he finally woke up, he was 2 sets down, and got owned that day by Nads.

Seth Says:

Novak gets a set at most. Rafa will bag number 21 come Sunday.

Dave Says:

Everyone is underestimating Novak this year like they did Rafa last year because of the conditions. People who think this is a 100% lock for Rafa to win on Friday, could be in for a surprise. Rafa is the favourite for sure, but Novak definitely has a chance to win this match.

Telperion Says:

Well… As always, I hope for Nole to win against all odds even if Rafa is the favourite, but last year I was so thoroughly disappointed by his performance at the final that I don’t know… I do see that warrior attitude, and I sure hope he shows it on court tomorrow too!

Wog Boy Says:

I am with VP, even if Nole wins, which I doubt the trophy will most likely go to young guns, preferably Zverev, otherwise nobody beats Rafa in the final of FO.

As for scheduling, Medvedev said it all after Tsitsi match, that man doesn’t hold back, he says what he thinks.
For the first time in FO history instead of telecasting on public TV station FO sold exclusive rights of night matches to Amazon and they are obliged to put as night match the match Amazon wants in the night session.

Wog Boy Says:

For Nole and Jokić fans, Nole congratulated Jokara MVP award honouring him in his Denver jersey:

Tennis Vagabond Says:

CF1, I was just hoping no one would notice the ambiguity of the term.

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