The tennis world was left in a state of disbelief on Friday when Stefanos Tsitsipas saved a match point in the third and sent his semi-final clash with Novak Djokovic to a fifth set.
Djokovic had one foot in the final against Rafael Nadal before Tsitsipas produced an extraordinary comeback.
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After dropping the first two sets 6-3, 6-2, Tsitsipas saved a match point against Djokovic on his way to winning the third set 7-5.
The top-ranked Djokovic was serving at 5-4 and advantage but Tsitsipas saved the match point.
Djokovic was given a time violation in that game on his way to dropping his serve for the first time in the match.
The World No.1 then coughed up his serve again in the fourth at 4-5, allowing Tsitsipas to send the match to a deciding set.
Tsitsipas saved four break points in the seventh game and the fifth-seeded Greek saved a break point in the ninth game with an ace.
Djokovic was serving to stay in the set and tried one drop shot too many. His last effort was too short and sank into the net.
But in the last twist to an extraordinary match, Djokovic blew Tsitsipas off the court in the fifth set, winning it 6-1 to advance to a mouth-watering clash with Nadal.
Tennis fans and commentators couldn’t believe their eyes.
having saved a match point against djokovic no less, tsitsipas now leads in their semifinal! crazy scenes, so 2020! #RG20— Gaurav Kalra (@gauravkalra75) October 9, 2020
My god. Tsitsipas has taken Djokovic to the fifth set. This is one of the gutsiest fight backs I’ve ever seen. 🙏🏼— Akarsh Sharma (@Akarsh_Official) October 9, 2020
To be honest as great as Tsitsipas has been I can’t believe this has happened given the volume of break points Djokovic has had. I mean he’s threatening in basically every return game lol— Harry (@notstokaljona) October 9, 2020
The ability of how fast this game can change is incredible and insane.— safa Mes (@sassoum1996) October 9, 2020
I mean an hour ago djokovic was serving for the match and now he is playing a 5th set. Waww! #RG20
Crazy. Match shoulda been done already. How many breakpoints has Djokovic squandered in the 3rd and 4th sets? Tsitsipas is playing well on those points but still, a LOT of lost opportunities for Djokovic. Frustrating— B-Diddy23 (@diddy23_b) October 9, 2020
Rafael Nadal awaits in French Open final
Earlier, Nadal moved within one win of a record-equalling 20th grand slam title by reaching the French Open final with a comfortable 6-3 6-3 7-6(0) victory over Diego Schwartzman.
Nadal was beaten by the Argentine 12th seed a little over two weeks ago in Rome but the 12-time Roland Garros champion showed he was still the undisputed 'King of Clay' as he notched up a 10th win in 11 meetings over the game but outclassed Schwartzman.
A victory on Sunday for the 34-year-old left-hander will tie him with Roger Federer's men's singles record of 20 major titles.
The Spaniard reached his 13th French Open final without dropping a set in this year's edition.
Schwartzman, playing his first Grand Slam semi-final, had two break points in the opening game but Nadal saved both to win the game after battling for 14 minutes.
The Spaniard went on to break the Argentine twice in each of the first two sets.
The duo traded double service breaks in the third set before Nadal aced the tiebreak without losing a point.
Schwartzman found the net with a return to hand Nadal victory in three hours and nine minutes.
“I'm playing the most important tournament of the year - that's what motivates me,” Nadal said after the match.
Nadal improved to 99 wins and only two losses at the French Open, including a combined 25-0 in semi-finals and finals, as he seeks a fourth consecutive title in Paris.
That would add to the 34-year-old Spaniard's previous streaks of four in a row from 2005-08 and five from 2010-14, to go along with four trophies at the US Open, two at Wimbledon and one at the Australian Open.
He has won all 15 sets he's played over the past two weeks, making a mockery of the supposed explanations for why this year, so different for so many reasons, might be different for Nadal in the City of Lights.
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