• Spain's news in English

Nadal edges Djokovic in epic French Open duel

AFP · 7 Jun 2013, 18:00

Published: 07 Jun 2013 18:00 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Nadal, the third seed, took his Paris record to a staggering 58 wins from 59 matches after recovering from 4-2 down in the deciding set to clinch victory after 4 hours and 37 minutes.

The 27-year-old Spaniard, bidding to become the first man to win the same major for the eighth time, moved into his 17th Grand Slam final where he'll face either home hope Jo-Wilfried Tsonga or Spanish compatriot David Ferrer.

Friday's win was Nadal's 20th in 35 career clashes — and 13th from 16 on clay — against Djokovic who still needs a French Open title to become only eighth man to complete a career Grand Slam.

In a dramatic and controversial final set, Djokovic broke for 1-0 before Nadal levelled in the eighth game after the Serb had been handed a time violation and then lost a point when he collided with the net as he put away a smash.

Djokovic even summoned the tournament referee onto the court to argue his case that he had been wronged by umpire Pascal Maria and continued to rage as he prepared to serve at 7–8.

Nadal pounced, moving to three match points and clinched victory when Djokovic, who ended with an ugly 75 unforced errors, hit wild and long.

"It's a very special win for me and congratulations to Novak -- he's a great champion and he is going to win here at Garros one day," said Nadal, who had lost the pair's only other five-setter, the record-setting 2012 Australian Open final.

"When I was serving for the match it was against the wind so I knew that it would be a tough game.

"It was a similar match to the one in Australia in 2012 and he won. This time it is me that won and that is what makes sport so big."

On Sunday, Nadal will be appearing in his ninth final since returning from a seven-month injury lay-off.

"During these seven months out of the game there were some low moments, but everybody supported me and there was a lot of positive energy," added the Spaniard, who has already claimed six titles in 2013.

"David and Jo both reached the semis without losing a set so they must be playing fantastic."

Nadal took the first set in 51 minutes with the opener turning on the sixth game when Djokovic appeared to tweak the back of his thigh as he chased down a drive from the Spaniard.

The top seed was broken in the next game when he hit long. Nadal confirmed the break with a hold to love before taking the set when the Serb went wide on a forehand return.

A clearly unsettled Djokovic was struggling with his timing and footwork and a telegraphed dropshot allowed Nadal to thunder another passing shot for a break and a 3-2 lead in the second set.

But the world number one dug deep and finally carved out his first break points in the next game to level at 3-3, a sweet drop volley setting up the opportunity and backing it up for a 4-3 lead with an ace.

Suddenly, it was Nadal's turn to feel the heat as Djokovic broke again for 5-3 courtesy of a huge forehand after pinning the Spaniard at the back of the court.

Djokovic levelled the semi-final when Nadal could only bury a backhand in the Roland Garros dust.

Story continues below…

A controversial line call by umpire Pascal Maria gave Nadal a break for 2-0 in the third set, despite replays showing Djokovic's ball was in, and he backed it up with a love-game for 3-0.

Now it was Djokovic's turn once again to wilt in the 30-degree heat, falling a double break down at 4-0 before having to save two set points in the sixth game.

Nadal shrugged off a penalty point for a time violation to serve out the set in the seventh.

The Spaniard's brutal forehand was in control and another breakthrough in the seventh game of the fourth set gave him a 4-3 edge.

Djokovic was not finished, hitting back immediately for 4-4 but then undoing all his good work by letting Nadal back into the contest with a sloppy service game which surrendered another break.

The drama took yet another twist as the Spaniard failed to serve out the match, despite being 30-15 up in the 12th game, sending the fourth set into the thrilling tie-breaker through which a rejuvenated Djokovic romped.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Two-headed shark born in Spanish laboratory
Scientists are studying the rare find. Photo: IBIMA / University of Malaga

Scientists at the University of Malaga found the embryo of a shark with two heads and just one body.

Spain under pressure to stop refuel of Russian warships
Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov is due to arrive in Ceuta. Photo: Mil Ru / Wikimedia

Spain is facing international pressure to refuse permission for a Russian warship flotilla to refuel in Ceuta en route to continuing airstrikes against the Syrian city of Aleppo.

Most wanted: Fugitive rapist arrested in Tenerife
Mohammed Jahangir Alam was arrested n Tenerife. Photo: Crimestoppers.

Mohammed Jahangir Alam, one of Britain's most wanted fugitives, who fled the country in 2008 after allegedly raping a woman, was found working in Tenerife.

Spain's Rajoy says king has tasked him with forming govt
Photo: AFP

Spain's king on Tuesday tasked Mariano Rajoy with forming a government, taking the acting conservative prime minister a step closer to power again after a 10-month political deadlock.

Two imams arrested in Ibiza resort over 'Isis support'
The men were arrested in the resort of Sant Antoni de Portmany. Photo: Jose A / Flickr

Two Moroccan imams at a mosque on the Spanish resort island of Ibiza were arrested Tuesday on suspicion of backing the Islamic State group and inciting jihad.

Balearic Islands choose to keep summertime forever
The islands will have longer evenings during winter. Photo: AFP

The Balearic Islands want to keep summertime when the rest of Spain turns the clocks back on Sunday.

  Brazilian had 'uncontrollable desire to kill': Spain police
Francois Patrick Nogueira Gouveia has been charged with murdering his uncle, his wife and their two children. Photo: Guardia Civil.

A Brazilian teenager accused of dismembering his uncle and aunt and killing their two young sons in a grisly crime that shocked Spain had an "uncontrollable desire to kill", police said on Monday.

Man rescued from bin after climbing in to find old clothes
Photo: Policía Local Murcia

Police were called after passersby reported hearing a man calling for help from within a rubbish bin in the Vistabella neighbourhood of Murcia, southern Spain.

Spain faces crucial week as conservatives re-take power
Mariano Rajoy hopes to form a government this week. Photo: AFP

Spain entered a crucial week as acting conservative PM Mariano Rajoy prepared to re-take power, ending ten rollercoaster months without government marked by hope and disillusion.

Eight very creepy Halloween costumes ideas from Spain
Photo: Pan's Labyrinth

Forget flamenco dancers and bullfighters, The Local counts down the freakiest alternative costume ideas to dress up in this Halloween.

Analysis & Opinion
Out of the dark: Five years on from Eta ceasefire
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Spanish 'La Mafia' restaurants banned after Italian complaint
Spain's top court overturns bullfighting ban in Catalonia
Hunt launched for ten most wanted Brit fugitives hiding out in Spain
Napflix: Spaniards launch very boring TV channel for siestas
Madrid parish church faces fine over 'too noisy' bells
Celebrate expat life at Madrid’s THRIVE convention
Fury after kids told to bring their own loo roll to school
Disney announces plans for Don Quixote action movie
Activist tells 8-yr-old matador wannabe with cancer 'just die'
King to make last minute push to avoid third vote in Spain
Amazing photos of Catalonia's 'human tower' contest
What's on in Spain: October 2016
'No way, Jose! You'll never get your hands on our Rock'
Recipe: How to make a classic Spanish tortilla de patatas
Chorizo in paella? Go back to cooking school Jamie Oliver
Spain in eye of a perfect storm after 10 months without govt
Thousands share clips of life for 'Spain in a Day' film
Ten incredible Spain locations for Game of Thrones season 7
Analysis & Opinion
Why moving to Spain could be the best decision of your life
Seven reasons why autumn is the very best season in Spain
Spanish study finds four types of personality. Which are you?
New search underway for civil war grave of poet Lorca
jobs available