French Open: Rafael Nadal tops defending champion Novak Djokovic in quarter-final thriller

    Rafael Nadal defeated top seed Novak Djokovic, 6-2, 4-6, 6-2, 7-6(4) in a thrilling quarter-final match at Roland Garros in Paris on June 1

    French open : After beating Novak can he win the cup French open : After beating Novak can he win the cup

    Rafael Nadal got past World No. 1 Novak Djokovic with a brilliant display of his trademark resilience and excellent shot-making. The victory ensured that he remained at the top with a Grand Slam count of 21. Rafael Nadal also moved closer to a 22nd major trophy and his 14th title at the French Open.

    Both the tennis greats gave their all and struggled to trouble each other throughout the match. The quarter-final match felt like a final owing to the anticipation that preceded the game, quality of play and effort put forth by Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.

    The Spaniard started aggressively, won the first set with heavy-hitting blows, and got a double double-break lead. Novak Djokovic bounced back and won the second set, which lasted one hour and 28 minutes with deep returns.

    Rafael Nadal got an early double-break advantage in the third set. The Serb made 16 unfocused errors to seven winners in the set compared to six unfocused errors and eight winners by Rafael Nadal. The Spaniard never gave Djokovic the chance to fight back and won the third set 6-2.

    Novak Djokovic got an early break in the fourth set and got a 3-5 lead. Rafael Nadal converted on his second broke and raced to a 6-1 lead to wrap up the game on his fourth match point. Rafael Nadal saved eight of 12 breakpoints, while Novak Djokovic saved ten of 17.

    Rafael Nadal narrowed the head to head lead of Novak Djokovic to 30-29 and widened his lead at the French Open to 8-2 against his long term rival. It was the 59th showdown of their careers in the Open Era, more than any other two players.

    In a post-match interview, Rafael Nadal said, “To win against Novak, there is only one way, to play at your best from the first point to the last. Tonight has been one of those magical nights for me.

    He further added, “ Playing against him is always a fantastic challenge. All the history we have together, today was another one.

    Rafael Nadal will lock horns with Alexander Zverev of Germany at the French Open semi-finals on June 3.