PARIS, 7 JUNE: Rafael Nadal won an epic semifinal against Novak Djokovic at the French Open to remain the King of Clay — for another couple of days, at least.
The seven-time champion twice let a lead slip away in the fourth set Friday, then came from behind in the fifth to beat the No. 1-ranked Djokovic 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 6-7 (3), 9-7.
Djokovic blew an easy overhead on the opening point on the final game and went on to lose serve at love, sending his final forehand long.
"I was ready for the fight," Nadal said. "I really fought a lot." He improved to 58-1 at Roland Garros, including five wins over Djokovic. The French Open remains the only major title Djokovic has yet to win.
"It has been an unbelievable match to be part of, but all I can feel now is disappointment," Djokovic said. "I wanted this title so much."
Instead, Nadal needs one more win to become the first man to win eight titles at the same Grand Slam event. On Sunday, he’ll play the winner of the semifinal between Spaniard David Ferrer and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who is trying to become the first Frenchman in 30 years to win the title. I congratulate Novak," Nadal told the crowd. "He’s a very great champion. He will win here at Roland Garros another year."
David Ferrer advanced to his first Grand Slam final by beating Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at the French Open, 6-1, 7-6 (3), 6-2 Friday. The No. 4-seeded Ferrer, who had been 0-5 in major semifinals, will face fellow Spaniard and seven-time champion Rafael Nadal for the title Sunday. Nadal defeated No. 1-ranked Novak Djokovic 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 6-7 (3), 9-7 in the other semifinal. Ferrer collapsed to clay with glee when he closed out the victory. He has played in more major tournaments – 42 – to reach his first final than any other man in the Open era. Tsonga was trying to become the first Frenchman to reach the Roland Garros final since Henri Leconte in 1988, and the first to win the title since Yannick Noah in 1983.
Djokovic hits out
Novak Djokovic hit out at Roland Garros officials after his epic defeat to Rafael Nadal, claiming that his demands for the surface to be improved were ignored.