Novak Djokovic did what only one man alive previously has done – defeating Rafael Nadal in the French Open. It was a sweet victory for the Serbian as this was a long time coming, 6 times he had previously lost against Nadal in Paris, but it was worth the wait. It marks as the first time the Spaniard has lost in straight sets in 3 of 5 format on clay.
“It is definitively a match I am going to remember for a long time. I managed to stay aggressive, didn’t let him dictate the rallies, but rather be the one doing it. With Rafael you always have to expect an extra shot coming back. I didn’t want to let him feel comfortable on court. He didn’t serve too well, there were some errors he wouldn’t normally make, but I guess that is what comes when your opponent plays fast and doesn’t let you have time to organize”
“In the perfect scenario this was going to be a final. But unfortunately there are two more matches to go, and I have to direct my thoughts to the tough matches that I will have to face. Of course I am going to enjoy the win and relax with my family tonight, but I will have to focus in order to try and win the tournament”
With that win he pushed Nadal’s record to 70-2 in Paris and endied his 39 match winning streak at Roland Garros. Novak elevates his own streak to 26 matches (27 if you count the W/O vs Tomic in Indian Wells). He has also ensured that he is the first to qualify for the World Tour Finals which takes place in London in November and features the top 8 players, taking into account the points they collected in 2015 alone.
Novak now turns his attention to ending another streak – Andy Murray’s undefeated in 2015 on clay one. Surely nobody would have predicted that before playing this Roland Garros SF he would carry a 15 match winning streak on the red clay. His progress was evident in defeating Raonic, Nishikori and most notably Nadal all in straight sets and capturing the title in Madrid, his second in 1 week as the Munich final was played on Monday because of a Rain Delay.
He comes here after pushing aside a strong and consistent David Ferrer. Everything was looking done and dusted when Murray jumped to a 2 sets lead and 3-0 in the 3rd, but David somehow survived the early struggles and pushed the British player.
“The third set was tough to lose having match point,” Murray said, after he couldn’t capitalise on a 5-4 lead while Ferrer was serving to stay in it, and was immediately broken at 5-all.
“The groundsman watered the court and I went to the bathroom to take a few minutes and get my composure back.
“I got off to a good start in the next set, so my frustration didn’t last long.”
In the 4-th set Andy went into another gear and Ferrer had no answers, only managing to prolong the points with lots of running.
“Going into the match having not lost on clay this year and having some big wins on the surface is important for me. I will just keep doing what I have been doing: have a good practice tomorrow, recover, and come up with a good game plan,” Murray said.
“It’s going to be an extremely tough match against Novak. I’m going to need to play a high-quality match to have a chance.”
“Physically he’s in great shape; he hits the ball well off both sides. I feel like in a couple of the matches we played this year I feel like I’ve been able to hang with him, but just not quite for long enough unfortunately.”
Novak leads the H2H 18-8, winning seven straight and 10 of the last 11 and also is 2-0 vs Andy on clay. Their Grand Slam matches, with the lone exception of Aus Open 2011, haven’t been decided in straight sets. With both riding high for their obvious reasons this could be much closer than what the bookies and many people think.
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