(SATSports) – As many anticipated when the French Open draw was released a few weeks ago, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic are set for a semi-final showdown, which will be their 58th meeting.
The Serbian saw off hard hitting Italian, Matteo Berrettini in four sets, winning 6- 6-3, 6-2, 6-7 (5), 7-5 to book his place in the Roland Garros semis for the 11th time in his career.
The world number one showed his class in the first two sets, with quick breaks to start off each sets in what seemed to be a one sided affair.
Berrettini would show why he is one of the best on the tour by playing great tennis in the third, forcing the match to go into a tie breaker and eventually winning it to force a fourth set.
With their match reaching past the French national curfew, play was stopped for approximately 20 minutes in order for the fans to be escorted outside Philippe Chatrier at 3-2. Djokovic admitted after the match that the break disturbed his rhythm, saying “ After all the fans left and the little break, it wasn’t easy for me to find rhythm. It was a really difficult match for me.”
However he would go on to seal the match on his third match point and book his place in what will be his 40thgrand slam semi-final.
Earlier, the thirteen time champion in Rafael Nadal saw off the 10th seeded Diego Schwartzman, 6-3 ,4-6, 6-4, 6-0 to make the last four in Paris for the 14th time.
Nadal served out the first set to seal his 36thconsecutive set at the French Open. Schwartzman was not going out without a big fight, breaking early in the second for a 3-0 lead. However Nadal roared back to get the set back on serve and many would think he would cruise to victory as the set progressed, but Schwartzman would go on to break Nadal off a missed forehand in the 10th game to seal the second set.
Nadal showcased just why he is a thirteen timechampion in France, serving in 22 of 25 first serves, playing huge corner to corner tennis and eventually winning the third set.
The Spanish, turned what was a tightly contested match into a one man show by playing ruthless tennis in the fourth set, showing absolutely no mercy to ensure his place in the last four.
Djokovic and Nadal have met eight times in Paris, with the latter leading 7-1. Djokovic stands a chance at upsetting Nadal though as he is one of two men to ever beat Nadal at Roland Garros, he also leads their tour head to head 29-28 heading into their semi-final clash but it will be a hard task as Nadal has never lost a semi-final match at the tournament.
(Report Written and Compiled by Takudzwa Alufeyo)