“I’m not surprised at all,” Djokovic stated after the match. “It’s not the first time that he, you know, is able to a few days after he’s injured and barely walking to come out 100 percent physically fit. You know, he’s done it many times in his career, so I’m not surprised.”
Last 12 months, in one other stirring evening match, Djokovic defeated Nadal in 4 units on his method to profitable the title. Nadal light within the ultimate set due to Djokovic’s endurance but in addition to the foot situation — Müller-Weiss syndrome — that may hold him from taking part in for many of what remained of the 2021 season.
But on this French Open rematch, Nadal was sturdy at the beginning and on the end in a grueling duel with a mean rally size properly over 5 strokes. Nadal completed with 57 winners to 43 unforced errors and did a significantly better job than Djokovic of defending his second serve: profitable 60 % of the factors on it whereas Djokovic gained simply 42 % on his.
Still, Djokovic served for the fourth set at 5-3 and was twice just one level away from forcing a decisive fifth. But on the primary set level, Djokovic misplaced an prolonged rally by hitting a backhand into the web. On the second, he determined to be extra aggressive however his strategy shot was extra hopeful than good and Nadal ran to his proper and smacked a backhand passing shot winner that Djokovic was by no means shut to reaching.
It was quickly 5-5 within the fourth set and Nadal took fast management of the following tiebreaker, simply as he had taken fast command of the match. He jumped out to a 6-1 lead within the tiebreaker after which held on and closed out the victory on his fourth match level with one other backhand winner, turning to his group and elevating each his arms.
“Congratulations to Nadal, he was the best player in the important moments,” Djokovic stated. “I managed to win the second set and thought I was back in the game, but then he had another two or three fantastic games again at the beginning of the third. He was just able to take his tennis to another level.”
Djokovic nonetheless leads their general sequence 30-29 — a statistic that displays the transcendence of their rivalry — however Nadal has now prolonged his lead over Djokovic in French Open matches to 8-2 and can face Alexander Zverev, a German seeded third, on Friday for a spot within the males’s singles ultimate.
Nadal is the one man left within the match who has gained the French Open, and although Tuesday evening’s efficiency may need come as a shock to Nadal and people who noticed him hobbling in Rome, it will certainly come as no shock to anybody if Nadal took the arrogance and momentum that goes with defeating Djokovic and rode it to a 14th title at Roland Garros.