Djokovic eyes history against King of clay Nadal
Life might give you a second chance, but Novak Djokovic wouldn’t. Tsonga was his latest victim. He had four chances to crush the top seed in the French Open quarter-final, in front of a crowd, that was supporting him in unison. Out of those four match points, two were consecutive. We have also seen in this French Open how top players succumbed at such crucial points. But not Djokovic. He has mastered the art of raising the level of his game in such nail-biting situations.
Four times, the crowd roared to boost up the local Frenchman, four times Tsonga thought he was just one shot away from creating a huge upset, but four times Novak kept his cool, and one by one he silenced the crowd with amazing winners and Tsonga was left stunned with the comeback.
Djokovic is not new to saving match points. He was two sets down against Federer in the US Open last year. He then won the next two sets. Roger lead 5-3, 40-15 in the fifth set where he had two consecutive match points. The Serb won the crucial points, the match and then the tournament.
Even in the Australian open, he had to battle two marathon five-setters against Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal. In the final against Nadal, the way he panted and struggled in the later part of the game – the crowd, the commentators, everybody thought he was out of steam. But once again when the tide went against him, Djokovic staged a comeback and won the last two games of the fifth set which was tied 5-5.
In the French Open semi-final on Friday, he made World No. 3 Roger Federer look like a mediocre tennis player. Roger had ended his 41-match winning streak at the same tournament last year, but Novak was the better of the two players. And Federer, in spite of being the crowd’s favourite, could not match up to Djokovic’s class.
Over the last few years, the Serb has been successfully decoding the likes of Nadal, Federer, Murray to remain the World No. 1 player. I have to say that in spite of being a cricket freak, I have started to love tennis because of this man. His sportsmanship is something which, again, fascinates me. Especially against the weaker opponents, along with the crowd, he genuinely applauds the winners (or opponent). When he is fighting a five-setter, fatigue often seems to hamper his momentum, but towards the end, he is the one who lifts the trophy.
Sunday’s final would be a different match – where history will be made for sure. Nadal hasn’t lost a match at Roland Garros since 2009. The Spaniard has won all the 18 sets that he has played this year. While Djokovic is bidding to become the only man since Rod Laver in 1969 to hold all four Grand Slam titles at the same time, the 26-year-old Nadal is determined to become the first player to win seven French open titles.
The top two players will make sure that they outclass each other and enter history books – which means the viewers and the crowd at the Rolland Garros should rest assured that there would be a competitive match at the historic final!