Novak Djokovic says Rafael Nadal “deserved” to win the quarter-finals of the French Open

ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT / AFP via Getty Images

It was a quarterfinal adjustment of a final, and Novak Djokovic believed Rafael Nadal deserved to win.

“He was able to take his tennis to another level in those particular moments at the start of every set except the fourth,” Djokovic told reporters after Christmas’s four-set Christmas victory on Tuesday. “… I had my chances … he showed why he is a great champion, staying mentally tough … he deserved it.”

While Nadal won 6-2, 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (4), it looked like the two legends were exchanging sets on the way to a decisive fifth.

After all, Nadal took first and third, while Djokovic took second and held a 5-2 lead in the fourth. It was then that the 13-time French Open champion reached “another level” and recovered to force a tiebreaker that he won with relative ease.

It was more of the same at Roland Garros for the Spaniard, who also defeated Djokovic in the 2020 final. ‘clay.

He also extended his record to an impressive 101-1 at the French Open by winning the first set.

Nadal has already surpassed Djokovic and Roger Federer in his 21st Grand Slam title when he won the Australian Open in January. He is two wins away from adding to his legacy and overall record at the French Open, but things will not be easy even after defeating a great teammate.

He will face Alexander Zverev in the semifinals after the No. 3 seed defeated Carlos Alcaraz in four sets in another quarterfinal match.

Nadal has a 6-3 lead in face-to-face matches, although Zverev has won three of the last four.

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