Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 4th 2015 Contents A48
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Thursday, June 4, 2015
PARIS — There was no trophy, and
no title, on offer for Novak Djokovic
at Court Philippe Chatrier.
Perhaps there should have been, con-
sidering what he accomplished.
Thoroughly outplaying the best
there’s ever been on red clay, Djokovic
ended Rafael Nadal’s 39-match French
Open winning streak yesterday by beat-
ing the nine-time champion in a sur-
prisingly lopsided quarterfinal 7-5, 6-
“A match,” Djokovic said, “that I will
remember for a long time.”
It’s only Nadal’s second defeat in 72
career matches at Roland Garros — and
second in 95 best-of-five-set matches
anywhere on the surface. The other
came in the fourth round in Paris in
2009 against Robin Soderling.
Before that, Nadal won four cham-
pionships in a row. And since? Nadal
collected a record five consecutive
French Open titles.
“I lost in 2009, and (it) was not the
end,” Nadal said. “I lost in 2015, and
(it) is not the end.”
The No 1-ranked Djokovic lost all six
previous matches they’d played in Paris,
including the 2012 and 2014 finals.
But Djokovic’s defense allowed Nadal
only three winners off his heavy topspin
lefty forehand, perhaps the most feared
shot in all of tennis. With his coach,
Boris Becker, jumping out of his seat
to applaud, Djokovic conjured up 45
winners to only 16 for Nadal, whose
29th birthday sure was a downer.
“He was better than me,” Nadal said.
By the end, Djokovic not only had
broken down Nadal’s game but also his
usually unbending will. Appropriately
for a match that did not live up to the
hype, it closed with a whimper on a
double-fault by Nadal.
“An ideal scenario is today could have
been (the final), and could have a dif-
ferent discussion,” Djokovic said. “It’s
only quarterfinals, and I want to fight
for the title. That’s what I came here
Yes, significant as this victory was,
Djokovic has more work to do in pursuit
of a first French Open title to complete
a career Grand Slam.
In Friday’s semifinals, the 28-year-
old Serb will meet No 3 Andy Murray,
who eliminated 2013 runner-up David
Ferrer 7-6 (4), 6-2, 5-7, 6-1. The other
semifinal is Stan Wawrinka vs Jo-Wil-
“I feel like I understand how I have
to play on the surface better than I did
in the past,” said Murray, who is 15-0
on clay in 2015.
In the women’s semifinals today, Ser-
ena Williams plays Timea Bacsinszky,
and Ana Ivanovic meets Lucie Safarova.
Williams advanced with a 6-1, 6-3 vic-
tory over Sara Errani, and Bacsinszky
beat Alison Van Uytvanck 6-4, 7-5.
The 44th installment of Djokovic-
Nadal was merely a quarterfinal because
Nadal’s ranking slipped so far he was
seeded sixth, all of his unprecedented
French Open success notwithstanding.
The 14-time major champion missed
time last season with a right wrist injury,
then had appendix surgery. He has spo-
ken openly about a crisis in confidence
from poor-for-him results in 2015: Yes-
terday’s loss was his sixth on clay, his
most in a year since 2003. When the
rankings come out Monday, he’ll be no
better than 10th, his worst spot since
Djokovic, who won his eighth Slam
title at January’s Australian Open, owns
a 27-match winning streak.
“You need to play very well to stand
a chance against him, and the truth is
that Rafael did not play at his best,”
said Toni Nadal, who coaches his
After 15 minutes, Djokovic led 4-0,
taking 18 of the first 22 points, including
one 19-stroke delight in which both
men sprinted to track down lobs.
Then, as though suddenly recalling
who he is and where he was, Nadal
snapped to it.
It took Nadal 21 minutes to complete
the minimal task of claiming a game,
with the help of an on-the-run, down-
the-line backhand passing winner so
exquisite Djokovic gave a thumb’s up.
That helped the Spaniard get to 4-all.
Couldn’t have known it at the time,
but that turned out to be his last surge.
Nadal saved three set points while trail-
ing 5-4, then another two at 6-5, despite
missing an easy overhead early in the
game. But Djokovic converted his sixth
chance, breaking Nadal to seize the first
Djokovic wanted the court watered
after that, a request that was ignored,
leading to a series of complaints from
him to chair umpire Cedric Mourier. A
couple of times in the second set,
Djokovic slipped on the clay, then glared
No matter. Djokovic was too good
for his longtime rival, no matter the
Djokovic ousts 9-time champ Nadal in quarters
Serbia's Novak Djokovic returns in the quarterfinal match of the French Open tennis tournament to defeat Spain's
Rafael Nadal in three sets, 7-5, 6-3, 6-1, at the Roland Garros stadium, in Paris, France, yesterday. AP PHOTO
A look at the French Open yesterday:
Weather: Sunny. High of 74°F (23°C).
Men's quarterfinal results: No 1
Novak Djokovic beat No 6 Rafael
Nadal 7-5, 6-3, 6-1, No 3 Andy
Murray beat No 7 David Ferrer 7-6
(4), 6-2, 5-7, 6-1.
Women's quarterfinal results:
No 1 Serena Williams beat No 17
Sara Errani 6-1, 6-3, No 23 Timea
Bacsinszky beat Alison Van
Uytvanck 6-4, 7-5.
Stat of the Day: 70-2 — Nadal's
career record at the French Open
after his 39-match winning streak
in Paris was stopped by Djokovic.
Quote of the day: "He's human."
— Djokovic, about Nadal.
On court today: No 1 Serena
Williams vs No 23 Timea
Bacsinszky, No 7 Ana Ivanovic vs
No 13 Lucie Safarova in the
Thursday's forecast: Sunny.
High of 82°F (28°C).
FRENCH OPEN AT A GLANCE
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