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It was a quarter-final 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 special moments at the start of all sets except the fourth,” Djokovic said. told reporters after Nadal’s four-set victory on Tuesday. “…I had my chances…he showed why he is a great champion, staying mentally strong…he deserved it.”
As Nadal won 6-2, 4-6, 6-2, 7-6(4), it looked like the two legends would trade sets on the way to a decisive fifth.
After all, Nadal took first and third, while Djokovic took second and held a 5-2 lead in fourth. It was then that the 13-time French Open champion reached “another level” and rallied to force a tiebreaker which he won with relative ease.
It was much the same at Roland Garros for the Spaniard, who also beat Djokovic in the 2020 final. King of Clay.
He also extended his record to a stunning 101-1 at Roland-Garros by winning the first set.
Nadal has already overtaken 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 record at Roland Garros, but things won’t be easy even after defeating another great.
He will face Alexander Zverev in the semi-finals after the No. 3 seed beat Carlos Alcaraz in four sets in another quarter-final match.
Nadal holds a 6-3 advantage in head-to-head matches, although Zverev has won three of the last four.