Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 8th 2013 Contents PARIS---Rafael Nadal won an
epic semifinal against Novak
Djokovic at the French Open to
remain the King of Clay---for
another couple of days, at least.
The seven-time champion twice
let a lead slip away in the fourth
set yesterday, then came from
behind in the fifth to beat the No
1-ranked Djokovic 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 6-
7 (3), 9-7.
Djokovic blew an easy overhead
on the opening point on the final
game and went on to lose serve at
love, sending his final forehand long.
"I was ready for the fight," Nadal
said. "I really fought a lot."
He improved to 58-1 at Roland
Garros, including five wins over
Djokovic. The French Open remains
the only major title Djokovic has yet
"It has been an unbelievable
match to be part of, but all I can
feel now is disappointment,"
Djokovic said. "I wanted this title
Instead, Nadal needs one more
win to become the first man to win
eight titles at the same Grand Slam
event. On Sunday, he ll play fellow
Spaniard David Ferrer, who advanced
to his first Grand Slam final by beat-
ing Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
6-1, 7-6 (3), 6-2.
The No 4-seeded Ferrer had been
0-5 in major semifinals. He has
played in more major tournaments---
42---to reach his first final than any
other man in the Open era.
Ferrer has swept all 18 of his sets
in the tournament.
"I am not tired," he said. "This is
very important playing against Rafa,
because I need to be 100 per cent
to do well against him."
In the women s final today, No 1-
ranked Serena Williams seeks her
first French Open title since 2002
when she faces defending champion
va, who is
They ll be
generate the sort of
seesaw drama created
by Nadal and Djokovic.
In the fourth set Nadal
twice was a break up, and
twice found himself two
points from victory before
Djokovic summoned his best
tennis of the day.
The Serb had said the
French Open was his most
important tournament this
year, and he wanted to win it
for his childhood coach, who
died in Belgrade last week. On
the verge of defeat, he dug in
and won 10 of the final 13
points in the fourth set to even
A rattled Nadal double-
faulted in the first game of the
final set, and Djokovic broke
to take the lead. But there were
more plot twists to come.
Serving at 4-3 in the fifth set,
Djokovic came forward and
successfully hit a smash vol-
him into the
net and the
awarded the point
"I should have won
that point in 99.9 per
cent of cases," Djokovic
"It was a bit unfortu-
Three points later he
drove a forehand into the
net to lose the game and
even the score once again.
The weather warm and
sunny, Djokovic began com-
plaining during changeovers
that the clay had become
too dry. He wanted the court
watered, and summoned the
tournament referee to argue
his case, but officials
declined his request.
"It got very dry and it
was very slippery," Djokovic
said. "I think that it s wrong
what they did."
The conditions didn t
hamper the quality of play.
As the tension built, Nadal
pulled off the shot of the
day---and perhaps the
tournament---in the 14th
game of the set. Retreat-
ing for a lob, he flicked
the ball on the run
between his legs with
his back to the net.
That left Djokovic with
• Twitter: @GuardianTT • Web: guardian.co.tt
New Zealand has confirmed
the death of a New Zealand
woman who collapsed after
winning the 5,000 metres
walk at the Oceania Track
and Field Championships in
The 26-year-old Lesley
Cantwell had been on life
support in a hospital in the
Tahitian capital Papeete since
Tuesday when she collapsed
while walking to a medal
An autopsy will be required
to determine the cause of
Cantwell's death but it is
thought she suffered a brain
New Zealand road walker dies after winning race
in French Open epic
an easy overhead, but he dumped it
in the net, and the crowd roared at
the improbable sequence.
The mistake didn t cost Djokovic,
who won the game on the next point
for 7-all. But the next blown overhead
did, and it appeared to shake him as
he lost the next three points and the
The last shot came 4 hours, 37
minutes after the first. A triumphant
Nadal grinned, threw an uppercut
and answered the fans roar with
applause for them. Then he gestured
graciously toward the defeated
"I congratulate Novak," Nadal told
the crowd. "He s a very great cham-
pion. He will win here at Roland
Garros another year."
Chair umpire Pascal Maria docked
Nadal a point in the second set for
playing too slowly, and later warned
Djokovic for the same violation.
But the crowd was in no rush for
the excitement to end, urging on
Djokovic when he fell behind and
then roaring for a Nadal comeback
at the end.
Along with changes in the lead,
there were the sort of long, scram-
bling rallies that are expected when
Djokovic and Nadal meet.
Three strokes clipped the net on
one wild exchange, which included
a drop shot by each player, two lung-
ing scoops and finally a winning vol-
ley by Djokovic, who grinned at the
improbable sequence as the crowd
In the end, Nadal was not to be
denied on his favourite stage. His 58
victories at Roland Garros tied Roger
Federer and Guillermo Vilas for the
Nadal won his record seventh
French Open title last year when he
beat Djokovic in the final.
Since returning in February from
a seven-month layoff because of a
left knee injury, Nadal is 42-2, win-
ning his past 21 matches in a row,
and on the verge of his seventh title
He improved to 17-3 in Grand Slam
semifinals and has won 20 of his
past 21 matches against top 10 play-
"That s why he s a champion,"
Djokovic said. "That s why he s been
ruling Roland Garros for many years,
and for me it s another year." (AP)
"I was ready for the fight. I really fought a lot" ---Rafael Nadal
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