French Open highlights: Nadal beats Novak Djokovic to win 13th French Open title, 20th Grand Slam title

French Open final highlights: Rafael Nadal defeated Novak Djokovic in straight sets to lift his 13th French Open title and equal Roger Federer's record of 20 Grand Slam titles!

Rafael Nadal of Spain hugs the winners trophy following victory in his Men's Singles Final against Novak Djokovic of Serbia.   -  Getty Images

RAFAEL NADAL BEATS NOVAK DJOKOVIC 6-0,6-2,7-5 TO WIN A RECORD-EXTENDING 13TH FRENCH OPEN TITLE AND EQUALS ROGER FEDERER'S RECORD OF 20 GRAND SLAM TITLES!

 

That's all we have for today! Thank you so much for joining us! Until next time, it's goodbye! CIAO!

A historic, historic night for Rafael Nadal! And he did it in some fashion! To thump the world no.1 in straight sets of a Slam final is an astounding achievement.

 

READ THE FULL MATCH REPORT HERE

READ THE FULL LIST OF RECORDS BROKEN HERE

 

Here are the records he has broken:

Rafael Nadal scripted history on Sunday by winning a record-extending 13th French Open title as he lifted his 20th Grand Slam trophy and equalled Roger Federer’s record for most Major titles.

The Spaniard defeated Novak Djokovic 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 in 2 hours and 41 minutes at Court Philippe-Chatrier in Paris.

In 2018, Federer became the first men’s player to win 20 Grand Slams in singles when he defeated Marin Cilic in the final of the Australian Open. The Swiss Maestro has won six Australian Open, one French Open, eight Wimbledon and five US Open titles.

The 34-year-old Nadal, who first won the title in 2005, bagged his fourth consecutive title on the Parisian terre battue. Nadal has won the Australian Open once, Wimbledon twice and the US Open four times. (Read the rest of the article here)

 

Rafael Nadal, take a bow! He was always in command and never allowed Djokovic to stamp his authority. Novak did gain momentum when he broke Nadal in the third set but the Spaniard was in too good a form to let go! He didn't drop a single set. A fourth consecutive title for the legend! What a day it has been! In the end, we have a deserving winner.

 

NADAL bt Djokovic 6-0,6-2,7-5

THIRD SET: DJOKOVIC 5:7 NADAL

HE HAS DONE IT WITH AN ACE!!!!! IN 2020, NADAL MAKES IT 2020!

Three championship points for Nadla.

NOVAK NETS HIS RETURN AND NADAL IS ONE POINT AWAY FROM SCRIPTING HISTORY!!!

TWO POINTS TO VICTORY!

30-0 TWO POINTS NOW. BRILLIANT SERVE AND THERE'S LITTLE NOVAK CAN DO!

RAFAEL NADAL TO SERVE FOR HIS 13TH CHAMPIONSHIP AT ROLAND GARROS!

DJOKOVIC 5:6 NADAL

0-15 Remarkable! From mid-court, Nadal slices the ball back off his backhand and draws Novak forward. The Serb responds with a slice but it spins wide. 15-15 Novak with a fantastic winner. Had to created the angle along with the pace and did so beautifully. 30-1 THAT IS SOME SMASH. Forces Nadal wide. The Spaniard had to scurry across for a running forehand. The return is very loopy and Djokovic does the unusual. Goes down the line for a fearsome smash. 30-30 Novak nets his return. 30-40 Break point to Nadal as Novak overhits another return.  NADAL BREAKS!!! AND HE IS JUST A GAME AWAY FROM WINNING THE TITLE!!

 

DJOKOVIC 5:5 NADAL

30-15 Nadal inches ahead. He outsmarts Novak with an inside, cross court forehand. Novak was wrong footed, he changes direction but only manages to drag his return wide. 40-15 WHAT HAPPENED THERE? Seems like the ball didn't bounce as much as Novak expected because it hit near the frame of Novak's racket and dropped dead. GAME TO NADAL! HE HOLDS! Djokovic's cross court, backhand return shoots long of the baseline.

Nadal, for the first time in the match, serving ot stay in set.

DJOKOVIC 5:4 NADAL

15-0 GLORIOUS FROM DJOKOVIC! He has upped the intensity and he is constantly charging inside the court. This time from the right, mid-court, he beats Nadal with a precie backhand, cross court drive. 15-15 INCREDIBLE DEFENCE FROM NADAL! He converts the defence into offense and then puts a top-spin heavy forehand past Djokovic. 30-15 Rare cheap point to Novak. Can he hold? 30-30 Off balance miss from Djokovic. 40-30 How about that for classic Novak footwork? On the run, on the charge, he still gets enough time to press further up and forces Nadal to return wide of the sideline. 40-40 He let it rip, did Djokovic but his thunderous backhand slams into the net. ADV TO NADAL! The Spaniard comes out on top in the battle of drops and lobs. Once again, Novak drop followed by Nadal pass. FOllowed by Novak lob. This time, Nadal turns around to lob it back over Novak before putting awat the winner. DEUCE! Still fighting. Novak with a mighty forehand down the centre. Nadal, from the deep, canonly return it wide. ADV TO NOVAK! Serve and volley and he is in full flow here. GAME TO NOVAK! HE HOLDSS! And now, you can see the confidence in Novak from this thunderous, monstrous forehands. Nadal is almost playing from where the line judges stand. Which allows Novak to place the ball wherever he wants. This time he charges forward and gently taps the ball over.

 

DJOKOVIC 4:4 NADAL

15-0 On the run drop shot from Novak and it fails to cross over.  15-15 You can see Novak is regaining confidence by how is advancing inside the baseline. After a fierce baseline exchange, he presses forward, forces a weak return from Nadal. Eventually, Nadal nets his forehand. 30-15 Nadal responds with a 146 km/h inside out, cross court forehand. The fist pump says it all. 40-15 Two game points after Djokovic slams the net. 40-30 Djokovic saves one. GAME TO NADAL! A loopy backhand puts Djokovic off as he loses his balance while striking the ball and strays his forehand down the line wide..

 

DJOKOVIC 4:3 NADAL

40-15 Novak has been dominating this game, picking up easy point. HE CLOSES THE GAME with a brilliant backhand, cross court slice on the run.  It's not over till it's over and Novak has the momentum in his favour.

 

DJOKOVIC 3:3 NADAL

15:15 It's now or never time for Novak! Can he create something from nowhere? 15-30 Nadal nets his return.  30-40 Scrappy game this, by Nadal's standards today as his unforced error gives Novak a chance to break back. 40-40 When Nadal's on a roll, there's little the opponent can do. Novak draws Nadal forward with a beautiful slice and once again, Nadal squeezes a pass past Novak. The Serb has to scurry back and he can only manage to return it wide.  ADV TO NOVAK! Long again from Nadal and Djokovic has a chance to break again. Can he do it this time? YES HE CAN AND HE LETS OUT A HUGE CRY OF RELIEF!! HE NEEDED IT AS HE BREAK FOR THE FIRST TIME!! Nadal wrong-footed and it allows Novak to execute a comfortable backhand, down the line winner.

 

Earlier today, we had asked you who do you think will win, and this is what you had to say:

 

DJOKOVIC 2:3 NADAL

0-15 Novak's attempted drop shot fails to cross over. 0-30 VINTAGE NADAL! From the centre of the court, he creates an angle to beat Djokovic with his forehand. GAME TO NADAL! He breaks to love.Nadal within touching distance of 20th Grand Slam victory after Novak slams his return into the net.

 

DJOKOVIC 2:2 NADAL

0-15 That's a shot of confidence from Novak. From the centre of the court, he hits his forehand winner past Nadal's backhand. The Spaniard was caught wrong-footed there.  15-15 Nadal gives Novak a taste of his medicine. Out of absolutely no where, from the baseline, Nadal pulls off an incredible forehand slide and drops the ball just inches from the net. WOW! 40-30 Novak's hardwork is always undone by his backhand unforced errors as yet another return shoots long. GAME TO NADAL! Wonderous half volley. From the centre of the court at the baseline, Nadal goes low and put the point to bed with a great backhand cross court shot.

 

DJOKOVIC 2:1 NADAL

0-15 An off balance Djokovic, after the service return, moves to his forehand but squanders the drive and drgs it wide. 15-15 ANother incredible rally. Just like the other sets, Djokovic drops it short and Nadal is forced to hustle up the court. He return it with a slice and Djokovic lobs him. Nadal rushes back and we all expect him to another sky lob but he goes for a more audacious shot. He lets it bounce and turn around for backhand. But the ball lands wide. 15-30 Unforced error from Djokovic. 30-30 Djokovic, hanging on. 30-40 WIDE! Nadal has a chance to break as Novak's down the line forehand drifts wide of the sideline. DEUCE! Nadal's backhand return shoots long.  ADV TO NOVAK! Serve and volley from Novak for the first time! A deep serve to Nadal's backhand and then a tentative, careful light tap from over the head. GAME TO NOVAK! Just wide. Novak digs deep to hold. From one corner to another, Nadal opens up the court and yet, manages to land his backhand down the line out of bounds.

 

DJOKOVIC 1:1 NADAL

15-15 Nadal strikes back!!! A spectacular cross court backhand to corner Novak and then a fierce inside forehand for the winner. 30-15 Nadal even more fired up. Whenever Novak has own astounding point, Nadal has only responded stronger. 40-15 ACE past Djokovic's backhand. GAME TO NADAL! Another winner and another game.

 

DJOKOVIC 1:0 NADAL

A comfortable hold from Djokovic as he starts well yet again. Can he keep it up?

 

Novak to serve first in the third set.

How does Novak Djokovic turn this final around? He has to win all the remaining three sets! He has a massive task ahead of him!! If the current suit follows, Nadal might as well take it in straight sets. Nadal, at the moment, is cruising! Novak just cannot seem to find  a way out of the hole. One wouldn't expect the weight of the occasion to weigh down on a player like Novak Djokovic. Having said that, it doesn't take long for players to feel the heat when they are up against an in-from Nadal and that too, on clay.

SECOND SET:  DJOKOVIC 2:6 NADAL

15-0 Wonderful volley and even better control from Nadal. Novak's lob is met by Nadal with a backhand, cross court slice at shoulder height.  40-0 A cracking forehand down the line winner as Novak is caught wrong-footed. Three set points. 40-15 Double fault from Nadal. 40-30 Incredible defence from Nadal. Novak puts all his power behind two huge forehands and yet, they came back. In the end, Nadal's forehand, cross court slice falls wide of the right sideline. Time violation for Nadal.  GAME AND SET TO RAFAEL NADAL! He takes the second set in 48 minutes!!  Djokovic's return falls wide of the sideline.

 

Nadal serving to seal the second set.

DJOKOVIC 2:5 NADAL

40-15 Nada'l running forehand from the right travels long. Two game point to Novak. Game to Djokovic as Nadal slams his backhand cross court wide.

 

DJOKOVIC 1:5 NADAL

30-0 Make that 12 and Djokovic slams his backhand return into the net. 40-0 Stop it, Nadal? He cannot do any wrong today!! Novak forces Nadal deep, who sends back a loose return with a pick up shot from the baseline. Djokovic advances forward for a weak smash and Nadal guesses the right direction to pull of an incredible forehand, down the line pass.  NADAL WINS! To tell how how good that winner was, picture this. Both players at the centre. Nadal sends down a soaring forehand down the line and all Novak can do is watch it bounce past him. He doesn't even move.

11 backhand unforced errors by Djokovic. From Nadal? ZERO

 

DJOKOVIC 1:4 NADAL

0-15 Sumptuous! On the run, Novak outsmarts Nadal with a surprise drop shot and Nadal fails to get ther on time. 15-15 Next, Novak mishits his down the line forehand. 30-15 WIDE! Novak's cross court backhand strays wide of the sideline.  30-40 Drop shot and too good for Nadal, yet again. 40-40 First ace of the match by Novak to save a break point.  ADV TO NADAL AND THAT.WAS.INSANELY.GOOD.TENNIS.FROM.NADAL Djokovic had Nadal in a spot of bother with a fantastic drop shot and Nadal responds with an incredible low, cross court backhand pass.  GAME TO NADAL! Djokovic's backhand lands wide of the sideline on the right.  The hole gets deeper for Novak Djokovic.

DJOKOVIC 1:3 NADAL

0-15 Novak seals the point with an overhead smash. 15-15 Serve and volley from Nadal. First of the night. Djokovic with a straight return and Nadal easily puts away the volley. 30-15 Novak's service shoots long of the baseline.  40-30 Cracking backhand from Novak and Nadal scurries across to the other end of the court. His return is down the centre and Novak has enough time to hit the ball past Nadal for the winner. 40-40 Nadal fails to connect his backhand return, allowing Novak to move forward and hit the inside out forehand for the winner. ADV TO NADAL! Nadal does Novak one better. On the right from the centre of the court, Nadal goes around the ball and places his inside out forehand to perfection in empty space. GAME TO NADAL! Big miss from Novak. That was all his ! A loopy return in the centre, Novak on the run forward and the ball ends up into the net.

 

DJOKOVIC 1:2 NADAL

0-15 Nadal running rampant. Nadal making Djokovic all the running in this point. First, to mid-court. Then to his right and then to his left. At last, Nadal goes around the ball for a forehand inside out winner. 0-30 A 137 km/h backhand down the line winner. Need I say more? 30-30 Not the best of Novak's dropshot but it works. Nadal forced foward and then backward as Novak lobs. The Serb then put the point to bed by returning Nadal's overhead lob into empty space for the winner. 30-40 ADV TO NADAL Novak's return down the centre just misses the line. DEUCE! From one line to another, luck favours the Serb this time. On his cross court backhand, the line catches the corner and then Novak goes across the court with his forehand, which also finds the line. ADV NADAL That seemed like a tired shot from Djokovic, as he nets his forehand. DEUCE! Fatigue? I take my words back. Incredibly proactive on this point, presses forward. Nadal hd to reach out a long way for the deep forehand but he fails to cross it over. ADV TO NADAL! Sensational! A poor drop from Novak and Nadal closes the court down with a great cross court pass from down low. NADAL BREAKS! Nadal now has a chance to go up a break in the second set as Novak nets his return.

 

DJOKOVIC 1:1 NADAL

15-0 A 186 KM/H ace from Nadal! 15-15 IN! Djokovic, from the corner on the left, nails his backhand down the line with perfection. Nadal didn't even move.  30-30 Novak gives away a cheap point as Nadal draws level again in the game.  40-30  A long, tiring rally and World No. 2 comes out on top. He slides to his left, stretches wide to get to the forehand. Hits it  across the court but it lands wide. 1 hour into the match now.  GAME TO NADAL!

 

DJOKOVIC 1:0 NADAL

15-30 You'd think Novak would win the point when he is smashing from the net. Usually, he would but not this time. Nadal guesses the right direction, and plays an exceptional pass on the half volley.  30-40 Break point from for Nadal. 40-40 Nadal overhits his backhand cross court return as it falls wide of the sideline.  ADV TO NADAL! These are shots Novak wins points off but when you're under pressure, unforced errors begin to creep in more often. Under the pump, Novak drags his forehand down the line wide. DEUCE! Much better! From the centre of the court, he sends down a fierce forehand winner. ADV TO NOVAK! Novak attacks, presses forward to force Nadal deep. The Spaniard's backhand slams into the net. DEUCE! Frustrating times for Novak, as he is unable to close out the game. A regulation backhand return slams into the net.  ADV TO NOVAK as Nadal commits an unforced error. DJOKOVIC WINS THE GAME! After seven minutes in the game and almost an hour into the game, Novak Djokovic is on the board.

Djokovic to serve first in the second set.

FIRST SET: DJOKOVIC 0:6 NADAL

15-0 Open space and Nadal makes no mistake. Zips to the net for a comfortable winner. 15-15 Novak responds with a cracking winner down the left right flank. Lovely down the line backhand.  30-15 Another unforced error from Novak, overhits his return. 40-15 THREE SET POINTS TO NADAL as Novak drags his backhand cross court wide of the sideline. NADAL DOES THE UNTHINKABLE! SOME MIGHT SAY, HE'S DONE IT AGAIN! IN 47 MINUTES, HE SERVES THE BAGEL TO DJOKOVIC!

Who would have imagined that Nadal will be serving to serve Djokovic the bagel.

DJOKOVIC 0:5 NADAL

15-0 EXQUISITE! Djokovic's back hand drop shot lands right over the net and Nadal doesn't even bother. There's no returning that. 30-0 Smooth from Djokovic. From the centre of the court, he goes to Nadal's backhand, covers the court well and then slots the forehand down the line past Nadal. 40-0 Three game points for Djokovic as Nadal's backhand volley falls wide.  40-15 Double fault, second of the match from the Serb. 40-30. Unforced error from Novak. 40-40 Rafa fights back and Novak seems rattled. He loses his footing on the forehand and nets the drive. ADV TO NADAL! HE IS CRUISING, IS THE 12-TIME CHAMPION! Novak thought he had the point in the bag with a deep backhand cross court but Nadal's running forehand is only returned into the net by Novak.  DEUCE! Novak goes cross court with his backhand from the baseline, Nadal hustles to return the ball but opens up the court. Novak then goes cross court with his forehand and beats Nadal's backhand by a whisker. ADV TO NADAL Another Djokovic dropshot finds the net.  DEUCE! Drop shot from Novak, Nadal charges down, Novak lobs him back. Nadal hustles back to pull off another sky hook but this time, Novak makes no mistake in putting away the ball successfully. DEUCE! NO.4. Novak drags his cross court backhand wide. NADAL BREAKS HIM AGAIN!! 5-0!!!!

DJOKOVIC 0:4 NADAL

15-0 Djokovic smashes his down the line backhand into the net.  15-15 Fantastic comeback in the rally. Nadal pushes Novak very deep and then charges forward. Novak's lob catches the edge of the court. Nadal return with an overhead lob and Djokovic smashes the ball in open space to win the point.  30-15 Novak's inside out forehand down the line means Nadal has to pull off a running forehand. The Spaniard does it cleanly and then wins the point as Novak's forehand return drops long.  30-30 That is an oil painting of a drop shot. Impeccable court coverage from Djokovic. He seemed second best throughout the rally, returning from the deep. Nadal questions him by drawing him forward and he responds with a sumptuous backhand slice drop. Nadal with a loose return that aloows Djokovic to slot the ball into empty space. 40-40 Nadal saves the break point. On the right, Nadal goes around the ball and drills a huge forehand drive past Djokovic. ADV TO NADAL. Nadal is attacking a lot more today but this time, his backhand stop volley, to counter Novak's backhand, slams into the net.  DEUCE! Novak stretches very wide for the backhand but only manages to put it wide of the sideline.  ADV TO DJOKOVIC Another beautiful rally. It had everything. Baseline exchange, drop shots, lobs and in the end, Nadal's forehand slams into the net. DEUCE! Nadal won't let this go. Novak finds himself cornered, far from the baseline, as Nadal's cross court backhand proves to be good enough. ADV TO NADAL Novak's service return drifts long. ACE AND NADAL UP 2 BREAKS!

DJOKOVIC 0:3 NADAL

15-0 Djokovic in complete command of the rally, forcing Nadal to dart left and right throughout. Eventually, Nadal's aggressive backhand cross court drive strays wide of the sideline. 15-15 Don't think Novak picked up Nadal's forehand from the centre of the court. Easy for Nadal. 15-30 VINTAGE NADAL! An incredible backhand cross court than Novak return with  a half volley, he then darts to the net for a drop, Djokovic sends it back with a long and Nadal puts the point to bed with an overhead smash. Two break points now for Nadal.  30-40 NOVAK SAVES ONE! Incredible rally. Once again, Novak with a dropshot. A small exchange between the two at the net. Then, Novak returns Nadal's overhead/ sky hook with a fierce pass pas Nadal's forehand. NADAL BREAKS.  He is making this look one-sided so far and you have to be in impeccable form to do this against World NO. 1

DJOKOVIC 0:2 NADAL

0-15 Nadal also starts with a service fault. Nadal, from the right flank, slices the ball deep to Novak's forehand, who puts away the ball past Nadal with ease. 15-15 Lovely 1-2 from Nadal. A huge serve to Novak's backhand and then presses forward to win the point with a forehand cross court drive. Novak was wrong-footed there. 30-15 Just long from Djokovic, but a brave effort. Nadal forces Novak wide with a backhand cross court drive and Novak almost lands the ball inside the court with a running forehand.  40-15 Djokovic slams his return into the net. 40-15 From mid court, on the sideline, Djokovic goes across the court with his backhand for the winner. DEUCE! Ridiculous defense from Novak. Negotiates Nadal's sky hook/overhead and then wins the point with the pass. ADV TO NADAL From the cusp of the baseline, Novak's attempted drop fails to cross over.  NADAL WINS THE GAME. Another tight game, which ends with Novak's return from the centre of the court straying long.

DJOKOVIC 0:1 NADAL

15-0 Starts with a fault. But wins the first point of the match as Nadal's high forehand down the centre shoots long of the baseline. 15-15 Nadal presses, pushes Djokovic further back to a point he's unable to return the ball over the net.  30-15 Here comes drop shot no. 148 of the tournament from Djokovic. He draws Nadal forward, who drags his backhand slice, on the slide, wide of the sideline. 40-15 Once again, the dropshot wins Novak the point. Nadal does well to get the ball behind Novak, who lobs the Spaniard and then volleys a loose return to win the point. 40-30 Novak nets his return.  40-40 Nadal with a positive start. A forehand to send Novak wide, then presses forwar to open up the court and puts the point to bed with a backhand corss court. ADV TO NADAL Another drop shot from Novak and this time, Nadal emerges victorious. He looked in trouble when he had rush forward to return the drop but he quicky turned defense into offense. Eventually, Novak dragged his return long of the baseline. NADAL BREAKS DJOKOVIC! Scintillating start from Rafa Nadal.  Djokovic's backhand slice lands just wide of the sideline.

HERE.WE. GO.

IT'S RAFAEL NADAL VS NOVAK DJOKOVIC

CHAPTER NO. 56

DJOKOVIC TO SERVE FIRST

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

Win-loss  record 2020-

21-4: Nadal

37-1: Djokovic

For the first time, the final will be played under the roof.

COIN TOSS: DJOKOVIC WINS THE TOSS AND HE WILL SERVE FIRST

Next up, Novak Djokovic in a white mask and his red and white attire.

Nadal, first up in his all-blue attire and a red mask.

Here we go! Nadal and Djokovic have walked out to the court.

LIVE UPDATES:

On clay, Nadal leads Djokovic 17-7

At Roland Garros, Nadal leads Djokovic 6-1

In Roland Garros finals, Nadal leads Djokovic finals 2-0

Less than 10 minutes to go for the blockbuster clash.

The Serbian is 37-1 in the win-loss record in 2020.

His only loss, of course,  was the default.

-> Nadal will be wary of Djokovic's dropshots. He has executed a 147 dropshots at Roland Garros this year.

 

There's lots to play for tonight.

Nadal: If he wins, he will equal Roger Federer's record of 20 Grand Slam titles.

This is will be Nadal's 13th French Open title.

No other other player has a won a single Grand Slam more. Second best is Margaret Court- with 11 Australian Open titles.

Djokovic: If he wins, he will register his 18th Grand Slam.

He will become the man in the Open Era to complete a second Career Grand Slam.

Only Rod Laver and Roy Emerson have done it, but they achieved this feat before the Open Era began in April 1968.

 

Let's have a look at their head-to-head record:

World No. 1 Djokovic, the 2016 champion at Roland Garros, reached his fifth French Open final and a third title clash at Roland Garros against Rafael Nadal.

The Serbian will meet 12-time champion Nadal in the final for the duo's 56th overall clash, which is highest in the open era.

Djokovic is one of only two men to have defeated Nadal at Roland Garros in 15 years, while Nadal will be aiming for his 100th French Open win - the highest in the tournament history. Nadal 99 wins from 101 matches Roland Garros is the third highest for any player at single Grand Slam - Only Roger Federer (102 Australian Open, 101 Wimbledon) has won more.

A look at the key facts and records of the two modern-day greats ahead of their title clash on Sunday.

Novak Djokovic

Age: 33

ATP ranking: 1

Grand Slam titles: 17 (Australian Open - 8; French Open - 1 ; Wimbledon - 5; U.S. Open -3)

Career ATP titles: 81

2019 French Open performance: Semi-final

Best French Open performance: Winner (2016)

Nadal hosts Djokovic in historic French Open duel  

 

First round: Mikael Ymer (Sweden) 6-0 6-2 6-3

Second round: Ricardas Berankis (Lithuania) 6-1 6-2 6-2

Third round: Daniel Elahi Galan Riveros (Colombia) 6-0 6-3 6-2

Fourth round: 15-Karen Khachanov (Russia) 6-4 6-3 6-3

Quarter-finals: 17-Pablo Carreno Busta (Spain) 4-6 6-2 6-3 6-4

Semi-finals: 5-Stefanos Tsitsipas (Greece) 6-3 6-2 5-7 4-6 6-1

The top-ranked Serb suffered a major scare when he let a two-set lead slip against Tsitsipas but he steadied the ship to seal a spot in his 27th Grand Slam final.

 

Djokovic, who is bidding to become only the third male player to win all four Grand Slams twice, leads the head-to-head against Nadal 29-26.

Victory on Sunday would give Djokovic an 18th Grand Slam, leaving him one behind Nadal and two shy of Roger Federer.

Nadal leads Djokovic 9-6 at Grand Slams while the duo are tied on 2 wins each in the four Slam finals they competed. At French Open, Djokovic lost six of seven matches against Nadal but had won 7-5, 6-3, 6-1 in the last match - the 2015 quarterfinal.

 

Rafael Nadal

 

Age: 34

ATP ranking: 2 (Highest ranking: 1)

Grand Slam titles: 19 (Australian Open - 1; French Open - 12; Wimbledon - 2; U.S. Open - 4)

Career ATP titles: 85

2019 French Open performance: Winner

Best French Open performance: Winner (2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2017, 2018, 2019)

Road to final

First round: Egor Gerasimov (Belarus) 6-4 6-4 6-2

Second round: Mackenzie McDonald (U.S.) 6-1 6-0 6-3

Third round: Stefano Travaglia (Italy) 6-1 6-4 6-0

Fourth round: Sebastian Korda (U.S.) 6-1 6-1 6-2

Quarter-finals: Jannik Sinner (Italy) 7-6(4) 6-4 6-1

Semi-finals: 12-Diego Schwartzman (Argentina) 6-3 6-3 7-6(0)

Nadal marched into his 13th French Open final by defeating Schwartzman in straight sets. The Spaniard has not dropped a set en route to the final -- a feat he last achieved in 2017.

The world number two has beaten Djokovic in six of their seven clashes at Roland Garros, including the 2012 and 2014 finals, but lost their most recent meeting in the 2015 quarter-finals.

A victory for Nadal would improve his win-loss record at Roland Garros to 100-2 and ensure a record-equalling 20th Grand Slam title.

Head-to-head:

 

Djokovic leads 29-26 (3-2 in their last five meetings)

2020 Djokovic beat Nadal 6-2 7-6(4) (ATP Cup, hard)

2019 Nadal beat Djokovic 6-0 4-6 6-1 (Rome, clay)

2019 Djokovic beat Nadal 6-3 6-2 6-3 (Australian Open, hard)

2018 Djokovic beat Nadal 6-4 3-6 7-6(9) 3-6 10-8 (Wimbledon, grass)

2018 Nadal beat Djokovic 7-6(4) 6-3 (Rome, clay)

 

Less than 30 minutes to go for the historic clash.

Have a look at their head-to-head stats:

 

MATCH PREVIEW:

Go all the way back to June 8, 2006, when Rafael Nadal moved on at the French Open after his 19-year-old, 63rd-ranked opponent in the quarterfinal quit because of a bad back while trailing two sets to none.

That opponent’s assessment of Nadal after facing him for the first time as professionals - “He’s the best on this surface, but he’s not unbeatable. That’s for sure.”

That foe? Novak Djokovic. Fast-forward to the final at Roland Garros on Sunday, when world number 1 Djokovic and number 2 Nadal will stand across from each other once again at Court Philippe Chatrier, only this time in October after the tournament was postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal stormed into the French Open final after beating Diego Schwartzman 6-3, 6-3, 7-6 (0).   -  Getty Images

 

It will be their 56th tour-level meeting - more than any other pair of men in the Open era, which dates to 1968.

And let’s not forget the big picture - this match carries significant weight in the Grand Slam standings that so many fans, and the players themselves, keep tabs on.

RELATED| Nadal reaches Paris final again to edge closer to 20th Grand Slam title

Roger Federer, who is 39 and missed most of this season after having two knee operations, owns the men’s record of 20 Grand Slams. Nadal, who is 34, is next among men with 19; Djokovic, 33, stands third with 17.

 

After Sunday, either Nadal will pull even with Federer for the first time since they were tied with zero apiece, or Djokovic will gain on the leading duo and the totals will read 20-19-18.

Breakdown of Federer, Nadal and Djokovic's Grand Slam titles

- Federer- 8 at Wimbledon, 6 at the Australian Open, 5 at the US Open, 1 at the French Open

- Nadal- 12 at the French Open, 4 at the US Open, 2 at Wimbledon, 1 at the Australian Open

- Djokovic- 8 at the Australian Open, 5 at Wimbledon, 3 at the US Open, 1 at the French Open

All three are greats of the game, regardless of where the numbers end up, of course.

Still, as much as Nadal wouldn’t engage in a discussion about his chance to catch Federer after beating Diego Schwartzman 6-3, 6-3, 7-6 (0) in the semifinal on Friday, he did acknowledge that “it’s good for tennis” if others talk about it.

Rest assured, they will. Much in the way that for years, people will debate which of the Big Three duos had the most intriguing head-to-head matchup- Federer vs. Nadal, Djokovic vs. Federer, or Nadal vs. Djokovic.

Novak Djokovic

Djokovic clinched a record 36th ATP Masters crown when he won the Italian Open title in Rome last month.   -  AP

 

"He’s definitely my greatest rival,” Djokovic said about Nadal on Saturday after getting past Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3, 6-2, 5-7, 4-6, 6-1 in the semifinal. “Playing him in so many great matches, of course the past will have some effect, in terms of respect towards each other, I guess -- motivation to get out on the court and play your best, knowing that we both have to be at our best in order to win against each other,” he added.

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Nadal called Djokovic, who is 37-1 in 2020, the lone loss via disqualification at the US Open last month, “one of the toughest opponents possible.”

"The only thing I know is- To play against Novak, I need to play my best. Without playing my best tennis, (the) situation is very difficult,” Nadal said. “I know that is a court that I have been playing well (on) for such a long time, so that helps.”

Djokovic leads 29-26 in their overall clashes, but Nadal leads 9-6 in Grand Slam matches, including 6-1 at the French Open. And they’re tied 4-all in major finals.

While Nadal is 99-2 over his remarkable career at Roland Garros - “It’s his house,” Djokovic said - it is worth noting that one of those defeats came courtesy of Djokovic in the 2015 quarterfinals.

Nadal and Djokovic

Novak Djokovic leads 29-26 in their overall clashes, but Rafael Nadal leads 9-6 in Grand Slam matches, including 6-1 at the French Open.   -  Reuters

 

"I hopefully will be able to play my best tennis, because that’s what’s going to be needed in order to have a shot at the trophy,” said Djokovic, describing Nadal on red clay as “the biggest obstacle and challenge that you can have.”

"This is what it comes down to. I’ve been there; I’ve done it,” he said. “I understand what needs to be done and how I need to prepare myself. I’m looking forward to it.”