On Tuesday, the King of Clay showcased another masterclass as he defeated Novak Djokovic in the Roland Garros quarterfinals in a four-set encounter. Rafael Nadal was on fire once again in Paris as he clinched a 6-2, 4-6, 6-2, 7-6(4) victory against the world no. 1. Nole had not dropped a single set at this year’s French Open until the quarterfinals. However, the Spaniard was quickly off the block and clinched the first set from the Serb. Novak made a comeback during the fourth set, where he had a lead of 5-2. However, the 34-year-old could not hold off the 21-time Grand Slam champ until the fifth set and was knocked out. Djokovic beat Nadal in the Roland Garros semifinals last year. He clearly had the advantage over Rafael, as he had more practice on clay compared to Rafa, who is battling a chronic foot injury.
Moreover, Nadal’s team requested the match to be moved up to the afternoon session. However, the organizers denied Rafa’s request and scheduled the match at night. Nadal also commented before the match that Djokovic was the favorite, and he would try his level best to get the results in his favor. And the Spaniard did exactly that as he moved into the semifinals and will face Alexander Zverev on Friday. The seven-time Grand Slam winner John McEnroe was in awe of Nadal’s performance against Djokovic and claimed that the Spaniard played at an extraordinary level.
Nadal Will Play Semifinals On His 36th Birthday
Rafa will turn 36 on Friday. He will face Zverev in the French semifinals on his birthday. Talking about Nadal’s performance, John shared that he made a mistake couple of years ago that the colder weather would hurt Rafa against Djokovic. But now, McEnroe thinks that it would be insane to bet against Nadal. The former American tennis star stated that Nadal would play in the semis on his 36th birthday Friday. McEnroe was unsure if he had ever seen Rafael play better than he did against Novak on Tuesday.
Further, John said that there had been a time when the encounters had been really close, and Nadal has played on an extraordinary level. However, the 63-year-old believes that his recent performance against Nole was one for the ages. He added, “If that had gone five sets, I might have slept here in the booth. It ended at 1:45.
Nadal failed to win in Paris last year. However, this year the Spaniard is just two wins away from his 14th French Open and 22nd Grand Slam title. He certainly is the favorite to win the tournament with Nole and Carlos Alcaraz already out of the tournament.