French Open: Nadal bests Djokovic to make 15th semi-final at Roland Garros

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Rafael Nadal spectacularly progressed to a 15th French Open semi-final, defeating Novak Djokovic in four sets 6-2 4-6 6-2 7-6 (7-4) on Tuesday.

Nadal had lost to Djokovic on only two of their past nine meetings at Roland Garros, and the 13-time French Open winner raced out the blocks as he twice broke the world number one to claim a 4-1 first-set lead.

The Spaniard swiftly secured the first set on Court Philippe-Chatrier and opened with another break after a mammoth 17-point game, which Nadal eventually won on his seventh break point.

Djokovic faltered again on his next service to fall 3-0 down but immediately made amends by breaking Nadal consecutively to fight back for control.

Nadal had a chance to take the set to 5-5, but was broken after pushing his shot long and the Serbian ultimately triumphed in the second set in an hour and 24 minutes.

Nadal then responded by taking the third set in stunning fashion, seemingly cruising to take it 6-2.

Djokovic regained a semblance of control early in the fourth set but was crucially broken back in the ninth game as the crowd urged on Nadal, who built momentum and started hitting flatter.

It was a critical point in the match and Nadal displayed incredible capacity to turn defence into attack, while unforced errors crept into the first seed's game.

On his third attempt in the game, Nadal finally secured the break with a sumptuous off-forehand, punishing Djokovic who dropped the ball short.

Suggesting this could be his last game at Roland Garros, the 35-year-old played with profound determination and assertiveness, taking the fourth-set tie-break 7-4.

Data slam: The King of Clay reigns over Djokovic

With Tuesday's win in four sets, Nadal moved to an 8-2 record over 10 matches at Roland Garros against the world number one.

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Nadal – 57/43
Djokovic – 48/53

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Nadal – 3/4
Djokovic – 5/4

BREAK POINTS WON

Nadal – 7/17
Djokovic – 4/12

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