‘Greatest Match Ever Played’? Novak Djokovic Ends Rafael Nadal’s 35-Match Winning Streak At French Open
In what some are already calling “The Greatest Match Ever Played,” world No. 1 Novak Djokovic knocked The King of Clay off his throne.
In an epic clash between two of the greatest ever to play the sport, the 34-year-old Serb ended Rafael Nadal’s 35-match winning streak at the French Open with a 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(4), 6-2 victory in the semifinals. The match lasted 4 hour, 11 minutes.
The win came after Nadal raced out to a 5-0 lead to start the match and means Djokovic remains alive for his 19th Grand Slam title — and his second French Open crown. He will face 22-year-old Greek sensation Stefanos Tsitsipas in Sunday’s final, the 29th Grand Slam final and sixth French Open final for Djokovic.
After winning the Australian Open in February, the Serb remains alive for the Grand Slam in 2021.
“He could be considered the greatest ever,” John McEnroe said on NBC of Djokovic.
The winner will take home about $1.9 million with the runner-up taking about $950,000.
Nadal, meantime, will remain tied with Roger Federer at 20 Grand Grand Slam titles and won’t surpass Federer for the first time in his career. The 35-year-old Spaniard has won 13 of his majors at Roland Garros.
Nadal is now 105-3 at the French Open, with two of his losses coming to Djokovic and one to Robin Soderling, who is long since retired.
Djokovic seized the third set tiebreak after Nadal hit a backhand drop shot and Djokovic raced forward to push the ball into Nadal’s forehand corner where the Spaniard hit a return wide. The third set itself lasted an hour and a half.
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After the third set, it was announced that due to the exceptional nature of the match, fans were permitted to break the curfew and watch the match to the end. The crowd applauded, knowing they were witnessing a historic encounter.