The first seed arrives with more wear than the favorite Rafael Nadal. In the semis, Tsitsipas pushed him to the limit in a five-set battle.
Novak Djokovic reached his fifth final at Roland Garros after having encountered the highest difficulty threshold in his last two matches, due to the complications posed by two tough rivals like Pablo Carreño Busta and Stefanos Tsitsipas.
But also due to physical problems that afflicted him, which, in any case, do not take away his optimism facing the definition of the French Open against the Spanish Rafael Nadal.
The number one in the world ranking held by the Serbian, and therefore the number one seed plate in the Parisian tournament, crashes against Nadal’s overwhelming dominance on French brick dust: Nole will look for nothing less than to infringe Rafa his first defeat in a Roland Garros final, since the manacorí won the previous twelve.
Novak Djokovic, for his part, lost three of the four decisive matches at the French Open, two against Nadal himself (2012 and 2014) and the other against the Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka (2015). And he was able to win his only Musketeer Cup in 2016, beating Scotsman Andy Murray in four sets in the final.
The Serbian reaches the final with a Roland Garros record of 73 wins and 14 lossesHigh impact figures that, however, are small compared to the 99 wins and only two falls that the Spanish has.
The positive for Nole is that one of those two losses belongs to him, and it was registered in the quarterfinals of 2015; the other is from Swede Robin Soderling, in the round of 16 in 2009, the only year Roger Federer was able to win on Parisian clay.
Nole reached the round of 16 without giving up sets and with only 25 games lost in the first four games.. Pain in the neck and arm appeared against Pablo Carreño Busta that questioned his physical integrity, but he managed to overcome it, as he also did before Stefanos Tsitsipas’ comeback attempt in the semifinals, which the number one ended up winning in five sets and after almost four hours of battle against the Greek.
The 33-year-old Serbian needed 14 hours and 36 minutes to get rid of his six previous opponents to the final; Nadal, for his part, did it in 13 hours and 13 minutes, without having lost a single set and only with a couple of tie-breaks disputed, against Italian Jannik Sinner and Argentine Diego Schwartzman, in the quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively.
The first round meant a return to a Grand Slam for Djokovic after he was disqualified in the round of 16 of the US Open for accidentally hitting a linesman when he lost 6-5 in the first set to Carreño Busta. .
The start of the road to his second title in Paris and the eighteenth major It was a crushing 6-0, 6-2, 6-3 to Swede Mikael Ymer. It was an uneven process when playing with the roof closed on the Philippe Chatrier court. The first set took just 20 minutes and Djokovic broke the service of the number 80 in the ranking nine times. “I felt very suffocated on the court. Everything was going to a corner, it almost did not fail, ” Ymer said.
The victim in the second round was the Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis by 6-1, 6-2 and 6-2 in one hour and 23 minutes. And in third he repeated the margin of error of the two previous games, since Colombian Daniel Galán only allowed him to win five games: he rolled 6-0, 6-3, 6-2 who is located at number 153 of the ladder.
“I felt inferior … I was passed over ”, confessed the 24-year-old tennis player, originally from Bucaramanga, who said that the possibility of staying without winning a single game was felt when he was down 6-0 and 2-0. Every right shot was like a missile. I was not able to even react. Maybe I wasn’t moving, I don’t know, it’s confusing. But seriously, I feel like it was like a rocket every time he sent that right, ” the South American completed.
The first seeded opponent was introduced at the start of the second week, Russian Karen Khachanov (15th favorite, 16th in the ranking), who put up a little more resistance but not enough to steal a set from the Serbian, who won by 6-4, 6-3 and 6-3.
Against Khachanov, whom he defeated in two hours and 23 minutes, Nole took advantage of 6 of his 15 break points, while the Russian hit with 2 of 9. In addition, Nole connected 44 winners and won 70% of the points with the first service .
In the quarterfinals, Carreño Busta (18) complicated it in the first set, but more worrying for number one was the appearance of pain in the neck and left arm.
After a bad start, the Serbian star received massages from a kinesiologist. Gradually he put order and defeated the Spanish 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-4. “The truth is that I was not feeling well. Certain things have happened to me during warm-up. I had to deal with some neck problems and some shoulder problems. Nothing more that. I don’t want to talk much. I’m still in the tournament, so I don’t want to reveal more ”, said Djokovic, in a key of mystery.