French Open 2021, Rafael Nadal vs Novak Djokovic Highlights: Djokovic beats Nadal to reach Roland Garros final

French Open 2021 men's semifinal: Follow the live updates of the Roland Garros 2021 men's singles semifinal match between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.

Djokovic takes the lead in the fourth set against Nadal.   -  GETTY IMAGES

Hello and welcome to Sportstar's highlights of the French Open 2021 men's semifinal between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.

FOLLOW LIVE: WOMEN'S SINGLES FINAL

 

Score

Djokovic3676
Nadal6362

 

The Djoker will now meet first-time Slam finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final and have a shot at a rare piece of history - the first man in over 50 years to win all Slams at least twice! See you on Sunday, folks. Good night!

REPORT: Djokovic beats Nadal to set up French Open final with Tsitsipas  

A task like no other at hand and the World No.1 simply unleashed his best-ever version.

 

SET 4:

6:2 - The World No.1 has done it! The greatest streak, perhaps in Tennis history, has fallen. Djokovic beats Nadal in the Parisian clay - a first in five years.

5:2 - Out of this world! Djokovic one game away from a historic win. Nadal throws the kitchen sink at it but Djokovic is unmoved. He waltzes the Spaniard with a jaw-dropping drop-shot that seems to have taken this away from Nadal.

4:2 - Is that the final nail knocked in right there? Novak breaks! Nadal's goes fluffy on serve as the forehands just refuse to cross the net. The King of Clay facing the heat big-time.

FOUR HOURS ON THE CLOCK!

3:2 - 3 in a row for Novak. Nadal's levels have hit rock-bottom all of a sudden and a rocket serve from Djokovic has pushed him into the lead once again.

2:2 - Djokovic breaks back once again as Nadal falters on serve. Costly miss this for Nadal. The double faults have found their way through the serve and Nadal is back to square one once again. Will Novak even let it go from here?

1:2 - Novak back at it. Not much fuss this time as the Serb gets on board in the fourth.

0:2 - Nadal raises the lead. Top start for Rafa as he continues to dish out his best for Novak. A significant lead as a fifth-set is looming on us, folks.

0:1 - Don't write off the Spanish bull! Nadal breaks first-up.  Staggering response from Nadal to break the Serb. Djokovic attempts to thump the backhand but Nadal overhauls the move by luring Djokovic to the net.

A mountain to climb for Nadal to enter his 14th Roland Garros final!

Nadal has lost 2 sets in the French open for just the fifth time. Thrice vs Novak, one each against Isner and Soderling.


SET 3

SET 3 stats

Aces: Djokovic 2 Nadal 4

Double Faults: Djokovic 0 Nadal 2

Winners: Djokovic 17 Nadal 20

1st serve win: Djokovic 62% Nadal 63%

2nd serve win: Djokovic 60% Nadal 40%


 

7-6: NOVAK DOES THE UNTHINKABLE! The World No.1 has taken the third set after yet another riveting piece of stokeplay in the tie-breaker. Nadal scurries to match up but falters twice with shots falling far down the baseline.

6-6: Superman Novak forces the tie-break! Nerves of steel from Djokovic to attempt a drop-shot mid rally against a fuming Nadal. It flounders Nadal's steps and has ensured a hold of serve for Novak. The bar is on the rise every five minutes.

5-6: Nadal sends Chatrier into raptures! An epic heist to save the break point from Nadal. Two cracking serves and winners from the 13-time champion has his him explode on finish. A huge roar is sent towards his camp while Djokovic bemoans in disbelief. AN ELECTRIC SEVEN MINUTES!

5-5: The King survives and breaks the Serbian serve! Phenomenal returns from Nadal under burgeoning pressure. Nadal returns with purpose and flicks it inwards by generating spin and ensures the ball falls right within the baseline at the other end. What a night this has been. We're perhaps halfway through as the clock ticks 3 hours!

5-4: Nadal still in it. A rare breezy affair on serve with Rafa serve this time. Nadal finds considerable swerve in from the baseline to keep the ball away from Djokovic's arc. Djokovic now serving for the set.

5-3: Djokovic holds. Another painstaking serve over nearly six minutes, but the Serbian has managed to flounder Nadal. A set away from taking the third.

4-3: Super Serb does it again! Nadal is livid with himself as he gifts away the break for Djokovic once again.  Djokovic has pushed Nadal to uncharted waters in clay as he stares at a consecutive set loss.

3-3: THE GAME OF THE MATCH! Nadal breaks right back after a riveting see-saw battle. The crowd is ecstatic and how couldn't they be. A mix of fine long rallies, grit and cross-court running has Rafa break through.

3-2: Djokovic breaks the Rafa serve! Unreal scenes unfurling in Paris. Nadal seems to dish in his best but Djokovic has managed to hang in there and stifle the Spaniard with brief moments of brilliance every now and then. A massive boost for Djokovic in the game and well on course on the dynamics at Roland Garros.

2-2: Djokovic breezes through on serve. Top stuff from the world no.1 and Nadal had no business meddling with it here.

Unforced Errors: Djokovic - 22, Nadal - 32

1-2: Nadal lives on thin ice! High-octane stuff from both men. Nadal put on the edge by Djokovic who attains a break point. A couple of ballistic serves and nous helps Nadal scrape through, barely.

1-1: Djoker holds his serve with an ace! Both men have regained control on serve. Djokovic dishes in some pinpoint serves, probing at Nadal's wavering backhand and levels easily.

0-1: A sharper growl echoes through the Chatrier as Nadal has begun in customary fashion in the third. A powerful serve couple with strong forehand hits down the line has Nadal regain his touch on serve.

Nadal takes a short bathroom break before returning to court for a crucial third set.

Nadal in 108 matches at French Open: Sets Lost - 29, Sets Lost to Djokovic - 8


SET 2

SET 2 stats

Aces: Djokovic 0 Nadal 0

Double Faults: Djokovic 1 Nadal 0

Winners: Djokovic 10 Nadal 7

1st serve win: Djokovic 58% Nadal 63%

2nd serve win: Djokovic 64% Nadal 17%


6-3: Djoker clinches the second set! 
Nadal gives it his all and manages to force a deuce with a barrage of backhand strokes. Djokovic, however, has kept his composure on the longer rallies and has waited for a blip from Nadal.  A massive boost for the Serb and Nadal loses his second set of the tournament.

5-3: Nadal HOLDS. Nadal is facing the heat with the umpire serving a remainder on his serve time as well. The Spaniard, however, manages to cling on with a swift serving game.

5-2: Djokovic holds and how! An flurry of exhausting, well breathtaking rallies has Djokovic scurrying through by a bare margin. Nadal is now staring at losing a second set at the tournament.

4-2: Djokovic breaks and takes the lead! Nadal's serve has waned and an unshackled Djokovic has capitalised big time. Djokovic continues to employ the drop shot and Nadal, for the first time, fails to attend to a couple of them tonight. A massive break here for Novak.

2-2: He's right back in this one.  Nadal continues to pepper Djokovic, rushing and forcing him to go deep. Rafa then reveals a delicate drop-shot and Djokovic frowns in disbelief.

2-1: Rafa gives one back! A slew of thunderous returns wide from Djokovic's supreme reach gives Nadal a shot to equal the set right back. He has found a way to dish out off pressure right on cue against the World No.1.

 

2-0: Djokovic Breaks! What a turnaround have we got here. Nadal has a poor start here and Djokovic has found a way to create a hurry the returns from Nadal, pinning the ball deep to either end. Djokovic lets out a roar, a first for the night.

1-0: Djokovic gets off the blocks quickly as a fine service game has Nadal pinned deep.

SET 1

SET 1 stats

Aces: Djokovic 1 Nadal 2

Double Faults: Djokovic 1 Nadal 3

Winners: Djokovic 12 Nadal 15

1st serve win: Djokovic 65% Nadal 68%

2nd serve win: Djokovic 25% Nadal 47%


3-6: Vamos Rafa!
Nadal finally converts the set point - his seventh to be precise. Djokovic forces the Deuce, thanks to Nadal's faltering backhand. He puts the momentary lull to bed and crushes Djokovic with some impeccable serve and forehand dippers to take the first set comfortably in the end.

3-5:  Not done yet, says Novak! That was a gritty hold from Djokovic on serve as Nadal continues to pummel Djokovic's backhand with some fiery strokes. The Serb barely manages to fend off the danger and has his third straight game in a row.

2-5: Djokovic breaks! A little too late, perhaps but Novak is pushing on here. Nadal falters on serve, a rareity. A double-fault with Djokovic on advantage, forces the break. Both men have put on a stupendous net-play and volley from time-to-time.

STAT: Winner of the first set has won the last 15 Djokovic-Nadal matches.

Last comeback from a set down: 2014 French Open Final


1-5: Djokovic escapes the bagel.
Not an exact replay of the last French Open final now as Djokovic has managed to get on board. Nadal, however, is in top gear with a flurry of sumptuous strokeplay in his forehand returns down the line.

0-5: Nadal on course for a bagel! Nadal is sending down some serious fireballs and Djokovic fails to pick up momentum consistently.

0-4: Nadal breaks again! Djokovic has no clue as to what has hit him. Nadal crushes the returns and Djokovic adds a couple of poor serves on top. Dramatic shift in gameplay for the world no.1 against his nemesis.

0-3: Nadal in cruise-control. The aces and forehand thunderbolts are jolting down the court to stop Djokovic in his steps. Nadal with a 3-nil lead!

Djokovic is broken on serve for the first time in over six sets!

0-2: Phenomenal Nadal breaks the Djokovic serve! Nadal has brought up his top game once again as Djokovic stumbles on serve. He tries his hand with delicate drop shots but Nadal reaches the spot in time to force strong winners down the line. Deja vu, folks? Back to October 11, 2020.

0-1: Nadal HOLDS! A game that sums up what we are in store for tonight. Djokovic took the early lead and had the chance to break. Rafa finds two successive aces to force the deuce and some terrific court-covering early on prevents Djokovic to capitalise on from a deceptive drop shot.

Game ON!  Nadal to serve first!

Nadal and Djokovic move into their warm-up drills with a slew of shots down either end.

 

Here We Go. In walks the 13-time champion Rafael Nadal. He is followed by the World No.1, Novak Djokovic into Court Philippe-Chatrier!

==========================================

10:20 PM: Right, time for the big-ticket clash of the night. Rafa vs Djoko!

UPDATE: 22-year-old Stefanos Tsitsipas beats Alexander Zverev to enter his first Grand Slam final!

French Open 2021: Tsitsipas beats Zverev in five sets to reach final  

The wait for the all-important clash extends after a Zverev-Tsitsipas classic continues to brew on at centre-court.

Meanwhile, Djokovic will aim to bring all of his might to trump Nadal on his surface. In his stride, Djokovic has racked up top numbers throughout the tournament despite the loss of four sets. An enviable break point win percentage of 63% puts him in good stead for tonight.  Add to that the fact Djokovic's serve has been near flawless - only being broken thrice so far. But all numbers said and done, will the Serbian topple the psychological advantage of Nadal here?

Nadal, on the other hand, has not racked up the best of numbers in the lead-up to his ninth clash with Novak at French Open.  Despite losing just the solitary set, Nadal's in-depth numbers rank third among the semi-finalists. However, on his turf, the Spaniard is a shade more than numbers and can be unstoppable under gruelling conditions.

French Open 2021: Nadal-Djokovic Stats

(Stats Credit: Infosys Stats)

 DjokovicNadal
Aces 40 23
 Double Faults 11 20
 1st Serve Pts Won 78.8% (268/340) 79.5% (206/259)
 2nd Serve Pts Won 57% (90/158) 55.3% (89/161)
 Return Pts Won 45.1% (229/508) 47.6% (205/431)
 Break Pts Saved 86.4% (19/22) 50% (11/22)
 Break Pts Converted 63% (29/46) 49.3% (33/67)
 Net Pts Won 69.7% (76/109) 77.6% (59/76)
 Winners  192 165
 Unforced Errors 122 134
 Time On Court 12:34 11:46
 Sets Lost 3 1


As the Philippe-Chatrier Court warms up for the contest, here's a rewind to the 2020 French Open final, the pair's last meeting in Paris. Rafa was at his phenomenal best as he bulldozed his way through the Djokovic challenge.

 

NUMBERS GAME

  • Nadal and Djokovic will square off in their 58th career meeting - the most for any pair in the Open Era.

          Djokovic 29-28 Overall Djokovic 15-13 Finals Nadal 19-7 Clay Nadal 9-4 Clay Finals

  • This will be the duo's sixth meeting at a Grand Slam semi-final with Nadal leading 4-1.
     
  • Nadal's last loss at French Open came way back in 2015. It was Novak Djokovic who managed to stop the Spaniard for the first time in six years in the quarterfinals with a straight sets win.
     
  • Djokovic is the only man to take more than five sets off Nadal in French Open history.

           Nadal sets lost at French Open: Djokovic - 7, Federer - 4, Schwartzman - 2, Soderling - 2


WHAT THEY SAID

Nadal: “It’s always a big challenge. [The] best thing is you know that you need to play your best tennis. It's a match that you know what you have to do if you really want to have chances to succeed and to keep going on [in] the tournament. That's something that is good, because in some ways we are practising [and] we are living the sport for these moments… The negative thing [is that] it's difficult because you play against one of the best players in the [sport's] history.”

Djokovic: “It's not like any other match. Let's face it, it's the biggest challenge that you can have: playing on clay against Nadal, on this court on which he has had so much success in his career, in the final stages of a Grand Slam. It doesn't get bigger than that. Of course, each time we face each other, there's that extra tension and expectations. [The] vibes are different walking on the court with him. But that's why our rivalry has been historic, I think, for this sport. I've been privileged to play him so many times."

MATCH PREVIEW:

Here goes...Chapter No.58

If numbers and raw aggression are the parameters put to the test, Rafael Nadal taking on Novak Djokovic will go down as the biggest rivalry in Tennis history.

The Spanish matador locks horns with the Serbian supremo in a repeat of the 2020 final for the 58th time - a record in Open Era history. The outcomes of the contest has been pretty stiff too, with Djokovic holding a slender 29-28 lead over Nadal, and it could all be squared tonight, in the Parisian clay, in Nadal's eternal turf.

However, enter the contest, the world no.1 Serbian has looked in terrific command over the course of the tournament despite copping a major scare in the fourth round. Nadal, on the other hand, has been flawless in results, but the numbers suggest the world no.3 is yet to hit the top gear. Has he served his best to fend off the Djoker challenge?

Djokovic v Nadal - six of the best matches

 

FRENCH OPEN 2021: Road to semi-final

#1 Novak Djokovic

1st Round: beat Tennys Sandgren 6-2, 6-4, 6-2

2nd Round: beat Pablo Cuevas 6-3, 6-2, 6-4

3rd Round: beat Ricardas Berankis 6-1, 6-4, 6-1

4th Round: beat Lorenzo Musetti 6-7(7), 6-7(2), 6-1, 6-0, 4-0*

Quarterfinal: beat Matteo Berrettini 6-3, 6-2, 6-7(5), 7-5


Djokovic has had a typical flawless run early on before Italian teenager Musetti pushed the Serb to the brink. Djokovic's rejuvenated self put up an astounding comeback to waltz the youngster on his way to a 12th consecutive French Open quarters. He took another Italian in Matteo Berrettini who managed to snatch a set from Djokovic, but could not serve much further. Novak's thunderous ROOAAR at the end also cited that he is ready for the Rafa test.

#3 Rafael Nadal

1st Round: beat Alexei Popyrin 6-3, 6-2, 7-6(3)

2nd Round: beat Richard Gasquet 6-0, 7-5, 6-2

3rd Round: beat Cam Norrie 6-3, 6-3, 6-3

4th Round: beat Jannik Sinner 7-5, 6-3, 6-0

Quarterfinal: beat Diego Schwartzman 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-0


Rafa's turf. Rafa rules. Nadal's breezy run through the early rounds was met with bare resistance. In the quarters, Argentine Schwartzman was able to slash Nadal's 36-match streak of consecutive Slam matches won. However, Nadal once again unleashed his phenomenal best to thwart any advancement from Schwartzman to make his 14th semi-final in Paris.

When and where can you watch Novak Djokovic vs Rafael Nadal live?

The match will be broadcasted on the Star Network at 9pm. Watch Rafael Nadal vs Novak Djokovic live on Star Sports Select 1 and HD 1. The match will also be live streamed on Disney+Hotstar.