Djokovic Dispatches Nadal in Straight Sets to Keep Career Grand Slam Hopes Alive | Zagsblog
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Friday / July 19.
  • Djokovic Dispatches Nadal in Straight Sets to Keep Career Grand Slam Hopes Alive

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    CGlliIhU8AA_BoQNovak Djokovic is now two victories from the career Grand Slam and becoming the new king of the French Open.

    In dispatching nine-time Roland Garros winner and No. 6 seed Rafael Nadal, 7-6, 6-3, 6-1 in the quarterfinals on Wednesday, No. 1 Djokovic snapped Nadal’s 39-match winning streak on the red clay in Paris.

    Nadal entered the match with a record of 93-1 in five-set matches on clay and 70-1 at Roland Garros, with his only loss coming in the fourth round in 2009 to Sweden’s Robin Soderling.

    “It’s not a big surprise, no?” Nadal said, according to Christopher Clarey of the New York Times. “I didn’t win enough before here. It’s something that could happen.”

    Nadal has won the tournament every year since 2005, except for 2009 when Roger Federer captured his lone French Open title. Nine of Nadal’s 14 career Majors have come in Paris.

    “I lost in 2009, and it was not the end,” Nadal said. “I lost in 2015, and it is not the end.”

    According to ESPN, Djokovic is the only player to beat Nadal four times at Grand Slams; no one else has beaten him more than twice.

    “The only thing that is sure is I won nine times,” Nadal said of the French Open. “I don’t know if I’m going to win 10 but nine I always win.”

    CGl88tTVAAAIEehNow Djokovic is two matches from winning his first Roland Garros title and will meet Andy Murray in Friday’s semifinals. Murray, the No. 3 seed, took out No. 7 David Ferrer, 7-6 (4), 6-2, 5-7, 6-1.

    Djokovic leads that series 18-8 and 5-2 in Slams. They have never met at the French Open.

    “I’m going to need to play a high quality of tennis if I’m going to have a chance,” Murray said in his on-court interview. “Novak’s played extremely well today to win against Rafa in straight sets.

    “It’s going to be very, very difficult and I’m going to need as much support as I can get in that match.”

    No. 14 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will face No. 8 Stan Wawrinka in the other semifinal.

    Should Djokovic go on to win the tournament, he would capture his ninth Grand Slam title and join an impressive group of men to win the career Slam.

    That list includes Nadal, Federer, Andre Agassi, Roy Emerson, Rod Laver, Don Budge, and Fred Perry.

    Five of Djokovic’s previous eight major titles have come at the Australian Open.

    Nadal is now 23-21 for his career against the Serb. He entered the match 6-0 against Djokovic at the French Open, but his ranking has slipped to No. 7 in the world after losing five clay court matches this season.

    As the No. 6 seed here, he was set to meet Djokovic in the quarterfinals, as opposed to the semis or finals.

    Everyone anticipated this matchup when the draw came out, but few expected the match would be so lopsided despite Djokovic’s dominance this year.

    Djokovic broke Nadal seven times and cruised through the third set after taking the first two in tighter fashion.

    When Djokovic went up two sets to love, it marked the first time in Nadal’s brilliant career that he had ever faced such a deficit in a best-of-five set match on clay.

     

    RECENT FRENCH OPEN CHAMPIONS

    2015: ??
    2014: Nadal
    2013: Nadal
    2012: Nadal
    2011: Nadal
    2010: Nadal
    2009: Federer
    2008: Nadal
    2007: Nadal
    2006: Nadal
    2005: Nadal

     

    Photos: ATP World Tour

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.

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