'It's absurd': Tennis fans seethe over Nadal and Djokovic 'disgrace'

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Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic will meet in the French Open semi-finals. Image: Getty
Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic will meet in the French Open semi-finals. Image: Getty

Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal have advanced to a blockbuster semi-final showdown at the French Open, however fans are fuming that they've been robbed of seeing the tennis juggernauts battle it out in the final.

Djokovic defeated Matteo Berrettini 6-3 6-2 6-7 (5/7) 7-5 to book his place in the last four in Paris for the 11th time on Wednesday, while Nadal beat Diego Schwartzman 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-0 to make the semi-finals for the 14th time.

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While the prospect of seeing Djokovic and Nadal go to war for the 58th time in their storied careers had fans in a frenzy, many were shattered that it won't be in the Roland Garros final.

With Nadal recently slipping to World No.3 in the rankings behind Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev, it meant Nadal and Djokovic were placed on the same side of the draw.

Considering Nadal is a 13-time French Open champion, many were gobsmacked that he could be seeded third on the red clay at Roland Garros.

Prior to the tournament, American tennis writer Ben Rotherberg said it was "absurd" to have Djokovic and Nadal on the same side of the draw considering it meant they were likely to meet in the semi-finals rather than the final, while others labelled it a "disgrace".

And the controversy reared its ugly head again on Wednesday when both men advanced to the final four, with many only realising for the first time that Djokovic and Nadal couldn't play the final against each other.

Fans flocked to social media to decry the fact that the World No.1 and World No.3 would do battle in the semis, with many calling for a Wimbledon-style seeding system that takes into account past form at the tournament.

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Djokovic and Nadal advance to semi-final blockbuster

Djokovic set up a 58th meeting with Nadal on Wednesday when he reached his 40th grand slam semi-final despite being held up by 5000 fans needing to be evacuated to conform with a Covid-19 curfew.

With Djokovic's match extending beyond the 11pm curfew, play was halted for around 20 minutes at 3-2 in the fourth set so those in attendance could be funnelled out of Court Philippe Chatrier.

Djokovic eventually claimed the match on a third match point in the 12th game of the fourth set, but only after the Serb had kicked out at an advertising board in frustration at missing the first two.

"It was a release of all the emotions I had kept inside me," said Djokovic who hit 44 winners and saved all three break points he faced.

Rafa Nadal and Diego Schwartzman, pictured here after their quarter-final clash at the French Open.
Rafa Nadal shakes hands with Diego Schwartzman after their quarter-final clash at the French Open. (Photo by TPN/Getty Images)

"After all the fans left and the little break it wasn't easy to find rhythm.

"It was really a very difficult match for me."

Friday's semi-final will be the eighth between Djokovic and Nadal at Roland Garros - where the Spaniard has a commanding 7-1 advantage.

That includes last year's final, however Djokovic remains just one of two men to have defeated Nadal at the tournament.

Both players have history on their minds in Paris.

Djokovic, an 18-time major winner and 2016 French Open champion, is looking to become the first man in more than half a century to win all four Slams twice.

While Nadal can win a record-setting 21st major with victory in Sunday's final, edging ahead of Roger Federer in the all-time race.

The other semi-final will see World No.5 Stefanos Tsitsipas clash with World No.6 Alexander Zverev.

with agencies

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