French Open 2021: Nadal tastes defeat for just third time at Roland Garros

Novak Djokovic is through to the 2021 French Open final. Photo: ATP Tour

The French Open singles finals have been set, with Stefanos Tsitsipas facing Novak Djokovic and Barbora Krejčíková taking on Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

13-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal has been defeated for just the third time in Paris, losing out to Novak Djokovic in four gruelling sets overnight.

Meeting for the ninth time at Roland Garros, Djokovic got just his second win over the legendary Spaniard on the Grand Slam clay, displaying incredible determination to grind out a third set tiebreak which set him up to claim the match in the fourth.

Before the match, Nadal was an other-worldly 105-2 at the French Open. One of those losses had previously come against Djokovic in 2015, who has won the Roland Garros title once in 2016.

Stefanos Tsitsipas will met Djokovic in the final after getting over the line in an five-set epic. Alex Zverev couldn’t match the intensity that the Greek 5th seed brought when the match was on the line.

In a battle of the young guns, Tsitsipas was able to bring the heat early, holding serves and making Zverev work for his points. The German has a powerful serve, but was negated by the Greek’s defiant returns and masterful forehand. He took five games off of Zverev’s serve, the most at the 2021 French Open.

For Tsitsipas, he becomes the first Greek player to reach the French Open final ever. It will be his first appearance at a Grand Slam final, and it is a feat that has been a long time coming after consistent quarters and semis finishes over the years.

Novak Djokovic [1]367[7]6
Rafael Nadal [3]636[4]2
Stefanos Tsitsipas [5]66446
Alexander Zverev [6]33663

French Open women’s draw produces history

After one of the most open women’s brackets of all time, the French Open will have another first-time champion in 2021. With Ash Barty’s injury-hampered entry into the tournament, and Naomi Osaka’s withdrawal, pundits expected Iga Światek to go back-to-back, but the draw gave everyone a shot at making the deepest runs of their careers.

Barbora Krejčíková and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova have done just that.

Krejčíková repeated her quarter-final efforts in her straight sets victory over Coco Gauff by defeating the surging Maria Sakkari in a frantic third set.

An exceptional serve returner, Krejčíková took advantage of her opportunities to win seven of her 15 breakpoint opportunities, with Sakkari struggling to find winners on her second serves. Sakkari had soared into favouritism by defeating Iga Światek in the quarter-finals.

It was the longest French Open women’s semi-final match in the Open era.

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On the other side of the draw, Russia triumphed over Slovenia via the 31st seed.

After promising the world in her teenage years, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova finally climbed the mountain and will play for her first Grand Slam title against Krejčíková.

The 31st seed got through a clash with Tamara Zidanšek unscathed, dominating her return games to claim six breaks in her straight sets victory.

Maria Sakkari [17]567
Barbora Krejčíková749
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova [31]76
Tamara Zidanšek53

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About Jasper Chellappah 199 Articles
Jasper writes on Aussie Rules, basketball, tennis and netball for The Inner Sanctum. His main area is player analysis, with a keen focus on the AFL Draft. He also lends his voice to The Checkside and the SuperCoach Sanctum PODcast each week.

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