Novak Djokovic has once again drawn the ire of tennis fans after an ugly outburst late in his quarter-final win over Matteo Berrettini at the French Open.
Djokovic set up a 58th meeting with Rafael Nadal in a blockbuster semi-final after prevailing over Berrettini 6-3, 6-2, 6-7 (5/7), 7-5.
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However the World No.1 cut a frustrated figure late in the fourth set when it looked as though his Italian opponent was threatening a boilover.
Berrettini had taken the match to a fourth set when Djokovic failed to close out the match in the third set tiebreaker.
And Djokovic was left seething when he let a number of match points go begging at 6-5 with Berrettini on serve.
The World No.1 pretended to throw his racquet into the stands before shouting wildly and kicking an advertising board.
“Maybe it’s because there are no fans in but I’m not sure I’ve ever seen Novak Djokovic as angry as he (very briefly) was after Berrettini saved that second match point," commentator James Gray tweeted.
"Wheeling his racket around and then booting an advertising hoarding *hard*. Anyway, over now.”
Others described his behaviour as "disgusting" and "frightening".
Djokovic and Nadal to meet in French Open semi-final
Addressing his outburst after the match, Djokovic said: "It was a release of all the emotions I had kept inside me.
"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."
With the match extending beyond an 11pm curfew due to Covid-19 restrictions, play was halted for around 20 minutes at 3-2 in the fourth set so that 5000 fans could be funnelled out of Court Philippe Chatrier.
Djokovic eventually claimed the victory on a third match point, but only after the ugly scenes that preceded.
Friday's semi-final will be the eighth match 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.
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.
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 World No.3 defeated Diego Schwartzman for the 11th time in 12 meetings, surging back after seeing his winning run of 36 consecutive sets end.
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