Novak Djokovic toils, meets Rafael Nadal in French semifinal

Tennis – ATP Masters 1000 – Paris Masters – AccorHotels Arena, Paris, France – November 5, 2020 Adrian Mannarino of France in action during his third round match against German Alexander Zverev REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

It took 3 1/2 hours, a cut on his hand and a delay to remove fans, but world No. 1 Novak Djokovic defeated Matteo Berrettini in the quarter-finals of the French Open on Wednesday to set a new date with Rafael Nadal. to arrange.

The ninth-seeded Serb defeated the ninth-seeded Italian 6-3, 6-2, 6-7 (5), 7-5 in three hours and 28 minutes in a game that was interrupted when the 5,000 fans at Roland Garros refused leaving the Court Philippe Chatrier subject to a curfew that has been imposed. Djokovic and Berrettini were asked to leave the field halfway through the fourth set while the fans were cleared.

Djokovic lost his balance and cut his hand after play resumed.

“This match had it all: fall, crowd, break. It was a lot of intensity,” said Djokovic, who let out a roar as the match ended. “I just felt stressed all the time. It was just super, super stressful to be under constant pressure on my service games because his service games were pretty smooth with the big serve.

Berrettini, 25, had 55 winners compared to 44 for Djokovic, but the Italian’s 51 unforced errors were the difference. Djokovic committed just 19.

“I’m really proud of myself, really proud of my team, what we’ve achieved,” said Berrettini. “I’m very happy, but at the same time I don’t want to stop here. I’m still young. This is my second quarterfinal in a Slam. I don’t want to stop here.”

In the first quarter-final, third-seeded Nadal defeated tenth-seeded Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-0 in two hours and 45 minutes.

Nadal’s run of 36 wins came to an end, but the Spaniard reached his 14th semi-final at Roland Garros.

“I started badly in the second set, then I was able to come back,” said Nadal. “But at 4-4, returning with the wind, I played a bad game and hit a double fault in the next game. I had to play more aggressively and I did for the rest of the game. I won an important game today against a tough opponent. I found a way to play my best tennis when I really needed it.”

Nadal won a total of 108 points compared to 77 for Schwartzman. Nadal converted 7 of the 14 break points. Schwartzman was outdone by 39 unforced errors when Nadal committed 29.

Djokovic leads Nadal 29-28 overall, but Nadal is 10-6 vs. Djokovic in Grand Slam events, including a 7-1 point at Roland Garros. The upcoming match will be their first semi-final since Wimbledon 2018.

“Every time we face each other there is that extra tension, the expectations and the vibes are different when we walk on the pitch with him,” Djokovic said after his game. “That’s why our rivalry has been historic for this sport and I’ve had the privilege of playing against him so many times.

“The rivalry with him and Roger (Federer) has made me a stronger player and enabled me to understand how to improve my game to get to the level they were at when I started playing real professional tennis. I probably will. “Choosing Raffa as the greatest rival I’ve ever had in my career. The anticipation for the game against him, every game on every surface and on every occasion is always different from any other.”

Mercedes cup

Seventh-seeded Adrian Mannarino of France lost to British qualifier James Duckworth 6-3, 6-2 in the Round of 32 in Stuttgart, Germany.

German Dominik Koepfer also fell, dropping a 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 decision for Austrian wildcard entrant Jurij Rodionov. Germans Peter Gojowczyk and Yannick Hanfmann recorded victories.

In other actions, Spain’s Feliciano Lopez defeated Alexei Popyrin of Great Britain in straight sets; American Sam Querrey defeated Turkey’s Altug Celikbilek in straight sets; Swiss Dominic Stephan Stricker defeated Moldovan Radu Albot; and Jordan Thompson of Great Britain defeated Guido Pella of Argentina in straight sets.

–Field level media

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