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It was a quarter-final fit of a final, and Novak Djokovic felt that Rafael Nadal deserved to win.
“He was just able to take his tennis to another level in those particular moments at the beginning of every set except the fourth,” Djokovic. told reporters after Nadal’s four-set victory on Tuesday. “…I had my chances…he showed why he’s a great champion, staying strong mentally…he deserved it.”
Although Nadal won 6-2, 4-6, 6-2, 7-6(4), it looked like the two legends would trade sets en route to a deciding fifth.
After all, Nadal took the first and third, while Djokovic took the second and held a 5-2 lead in the fourth. It was then that the 13-time French Open champion reached “another level” and rallied to force a tie break which he won relatively easily.
It was more of the same at Roland Garros for the Spaniard, who also defeated Djokovic in the 2020 final. While the Serb won in the 2021 semi-finals, bragging rights are now back on the side of the King of Clay.
He also extended his record to a Awesome 101-1 at the French Open by winning the first set.
Nadal already surpassed Djokovic and Roger Federer with his 21st Grand Slam title when he won the Australian Open in January. He is two wins away from adding to his legacy and overall record at the French Open, but things won’t be easy even after defeating a great teammate.
He will meet Alexander Zverev in the semifinals after the No. 3 seed defeated Carlos Alcaraz in four sets in another quarterfinal match.
Nadal holds a 6-3 head-to-head advantage, though Zverev has won three of the last four.