This should be a significant moment in Tsitsipasâ€™s career. Once he was a little tired and less inhibited, he played exactly as he needs to against Djokovic, attacking off both wings, moving into the net and being so couragrous in the big moments. As the match wore on, he eventually learnt that his low slice was very effective against Djokovic, a shot that he needs to improve and incorporate into his game more naturally. More importantly, after recovering from two sets down in the first round and then pushing Djokovic today, this should affirm that he is on the right path mentally.
What a strange, fascinating match. It is hard to think of a big match with such a big momentum swing in the big points.
- Until his match point at 6-3 6-2 *5-4 AD-40, Djokovic saved 10/10 break points and won 4/5 break points.
- After the match point until the beginning of set 5, he won 1/10 break points and saved 1/5.
Novak Djokovic defeats Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3 6-2 5-7 4-6 6-1 to reach final
Almost 100 minutes after holding his first match point, Novak Djokovic finally sees off a courageous performance from Stefanos Tsitsipas to reach the French Open final against Rafael Nadal. After failing to close out the third set, he responded like a champion to see it out in five sets.
Fifth set: Novak Djokovic 6-3 6-2 5-7 4-6 5-1* Stefanos Tsitsipas
Djokovic flits through another hold, this time to 15. He closed it off with an enormous crosscourt forehand winner before nailing an unreturned serve at 40-15. He is once again one game away from rafael Nadal.
Fifth set: Novak Djokovic 6-3 6-2 5-7 4-6 *4-1 Stefanos Tsitsipas
It is difficult to see a way back here for Tsitsipas. Djokovic continues to return at a stratospheric level and it finally appears that Tsitsipas does not have much left resistance to give. After a sweeping point-ending forehand return from Djokovic at 15-30, Tsitsipas double faulted on break point to give Djokovic a double break.
Fifth set: Novak Djokovic 6-3 6-2 5-7 4-6 3-1* Stefanos Tsitsipas
Djokovic calmly consolidates his break to 30. Kudos to Tsitsipas, who immediately put pressure on Djokovicâ€™s serve after the break with a great forehand down the line at 30-15.
At 30-30, Tsitsipasâ€™s dropshot attempt struck the tape and rolled back on his side. Djokovic closed off the game with a series of aggressive forehands.
Tsitsipasâ€™s leg may still be hurting, but his attitude has been wonderful since the third set and he is still fighting even though Djokovic has taken control of this fifth set.
Fifth set: Novak Djokovic 6-3 6-2 5-7 4-6 *2-1 Stefanos Tsitsipas
Finally, Djokovic brings his best form on a break point to move up a break in the fifth set. Under pressure on his serve, Tsitsipas shanked a backhand long to bring up two more break points at 15-40.
Despite his backhand error on the previous point, he boldly saved the first break point by crushing a pair of backhand down-the-line drives before sneaking into the net and finishing with a lovely volley. On the second break point, Djokovic took things into his own hands by delicately placing another drop shot winner.
Fifth set: Novak Djokovic 6-3 6-2 5-7 4-6 1-1* Stefanos Tsitsipas
Djokovic also opens the fifth set as he spent much of the fourth set, easing through a quick hold to 15 with ample big serves.
Fifth set: Novak Djokovic 6-3 6-2 4-6 5-7 *0-1 Stefanos Tsitispas
Tsitsipas opens the final set precisely how he ended the fourth set, saving another break point before holding serve. Once again, Tsitsipas was rewarded for his courage on break point with an enormous point-ending inside out forehand.
Tsitsipas moved to game point, where he was second best in a crazy point that included a dropshot from both players. However, the Greek kept on attacking and he has opened the set with a hold.
Novak Djokovic is 215-1 after winning the first two sets of any best of 5 match and he has never lost a slam match from match point up. Stefanos Tsitsipas recovered from two sets down for the first time in his career in the first round.
And yet we are off to a 5th set.
Tsitsipas forces a fifth set against Djokovic: 3-6 2-6 7-5 6-4
Astonishing scenes on Court Philippe Chatrier as Djokovic crumbles in his service game from 40-15 to drop his serve and the set, closing off the run of four points with a drop shot into the net.
Incredibly, they completely changed roles in this set. Djokovic was 1/11 on break points in set 4. Tsitsipas finished 2/2.
Fourth set: Novak Djokovic 6-3 6-2 5-7 *4-5 Stefanos Tsitsipas
Tense, tense moments on Tsitsipasâ€™s serve, but once again he survives break point to keep himself ahead. Tsitsipas had reached 40-30, but Djokovic scuppered the game point with a bruising forehand down-the-line. At deuce, Djokovic surprised Tsitsipas with a drop shot, which he reached but then he could not control the following volley.
Tsitsipas calmly slammed an ace down the T to save the break point and reached game point. Djokovic saved the game point with some astounding defence, eventually sweeping forward and playing a drop shot. Tsitsipas responded with a huge forehand crosscourt before connecting with an unreturned serve to hold.
Djokovic will serve to stay in the fourth set.
Fourth set: Novak Djokovic 6-3 6-2 5-7 4-4* Stefanos Tsitsipas
The clear issue for Tsitsipas right now is how easily Djokovic is breezing through his own service games. He coolly navigates a hold to 15, finding another big serve-forehand 1-2 punch on game point. The pressure returns to Tsitsipas.
Fourth set: Novak Djokovic 6-3 6-2 5-7 *3-4 Stefanos Tsitsipas
A special hold from Tsitsipas, who saves four more break points to keep himself on serve. Once again, there was some incredible returning from Djokovic to bring up double break point at 15-40, but Tsitsipas found two serve-forehand 1-2 punch combos to save both break points.
At deuce, Djokovic produced an incredible angled backhand passing shot at full stretch to produce a third break point. No matter, Tsitsipas once again moved forward, eventually dispatching an overhead.
A fourth break point arrived, which Tsitsipas scuppered by landing a big serve and then crushing a point-ending forehand down the middle. From deuce, Tsitsipas nailed a backhand down the line winner to bring up game point. Djokovic finally missed a backhand on game point to relinquish the game. The quality is sky high right now from both and so far Tsitsipas is keeping up.
Fourth set: Novak Djokovic 6-3 6-2 5-7 3-3* Stefanos Tsitsipas
Novak Djokovic breezes through a quick hold to 15, sealed with a drop shot and then a big serve down the T. That looked a lot more like his earlier simple holds and he seems calm again after seething over his missed opportunities early in the set.
Stefanos Tsitsipas now has the trainer on, who is checking his foot. Tsitsipas was wincing throughout the previous game. No timeout, but it seems that he has taken some painkillers.
Fourth set: Novak Djokovic 6-3 6-2 5-7 *2-3 Stefanos Tsitsipas
Tsitsipasâ€™s momentum may be well and truly gone, but he just saved three break points to keep himself on serve in the fourth set. He saved the first break point with a series of astounding forehands as Djokovic threw himself around the court. Immediately faced with a second break point, Tsitsipas drilled a backhand down-the-line winner.
At deuce, Djokovic pulled off a brilliant drop shot to generate a third break point, which Tsitsipas saved with a hefty point-ending crosscourt forehand. With some excellent first serves, Tsitsipas finally pulled off a top class hold.
Djokovic mostly served incredibly well in that set and one suspects that Tsitsipas is going to have to deal with more high class returning as the set foes on.
Fourth set: Novak Djokovic 6-3 6-2 5-7 2-2* Stefanos Tsitsipas
Tsitsipasâ€™s momentum has truly been arrested now. Djokovic breezes through four points in a row from 0-15 down to hold. He finished with two unreturned serves, giving Tsitsipas plenty to think about.
Fourth set: Novak Djokovic 6-3 6-2 5-7 *1-2 Stefanos Tsitsipas
Djokovic immediately breaks back after a very wasteful service game from Stefanos Tsitsipas. The number one initially upped his intensity, but then Tsitsipas bailed out of a long point with a poor attempt at a forehand drop shot at 0-30. On Djokovicâ€™s second break point at 15-40, Tsitsipas sent a routine forehand long.
Fourth set: Novak Djokovic 6-3 6-2 5-7 0-2* Stefanos Tsitsipas
Tsitsipas opens the set with a love break. Oh how the momentum has turned. Suddenly, it is Djokovic who is missing break chances and the crumbling on his own serve.
From 0-15, Djokovic threw in a rare double fault. At 0-30, Tsitsipas tracked down a Djokovic dropshot, slipping an angled forehand past him at the net. Djokovic closed off the game by badly mistiming a backhand down-the-line to hand over the break.
Fourth set: Novak Djokovic 6-3 6-2 5-7 *0-1 Stefanos Tsitsipas
Tsitsipas saves break point to open the fourth set with an essential hold. After failing to convert two game points, Tsitsipas dropped a well intentioned drop shot into the net at deuce. He saved the break point with an excellent defensive forehand, which forced an error from Djokovic through its sheer depth.
Tsitsipas then moved back onto the front foot, crushing a crosscourt forehand at deuce before holding with an unreturned serve. He has now won four games in a row. This is a different match for now.
Tsitsipas steals the third set 7-5
What an effort from Stefanos Tsitsipas, who recovers from match point down to force a fourth set. He finished the set crushing the ball now and finally starting to open his shoulders on his backhand.
From 30-0 down, he drilled a backhand down the line winner and then a winning forehand down-the line on consecutive points to move to within two points of the set. At 30-30, Djokovic stumbled while moving to Tsitsipasâ€™s low slice, dumping a forehand into the net.
Down set point, Djokovic found a first serve and demolished a series of forehands behind it, finishing with a forehand down-the-line winner. But Tsitsipas quickly generated a second set point, and this time he took his destiny into his own hands, crushing a forehand down-the-line winner to take the set. Djokovic leads 6-3 6-2 5-7.
Third set: Novak Djokovic 6-3 6-2 *5-6 Stefanos Tsitsipas
After Schwartzmanâ€™s second wind against Nadal, Tsitsipas has also shown plenty of courage towards the end of the third set. He recovered from 0-30 down to hold serve and guarantee a tiebreak at the worst.
Third set: Novak Djokovic 6-3 6-2 5-5* Stefanos Tsitsipas
Tsitsipas saves match point to secure his first break of the match! Djokovic saved the first break point at 30-40 with a big first serve before moving to match point.
But Tsitsipas was bold on the match point, eventually dragging Djokovic off the court with a great crosscourt backhand. Djokovic attempted to fire a backhand down-the-line from the tramlines and it flew wide.
At deuce, Tsitsipas swept to the net and played a great first volley before putting away his overhead. Djokovic saved the second break point with an unreturned 190kmh second serve.
But Tsitsipas continued to apply pressure and Djokovic finally overhit a forehand on the third break point.
Third set: Novak Djokovic 6-3 6-2 *5-4 Stefanos Tsitsipas
Novak Djokovic breaks and will serve for the match after an incredible game of the highest quality from both players. They went back and forth with brilliant winning points, shot by shot, until Tsitsipas finally netted a forehand at deuce. On break point, Djokovic came up with an incredible return then a perfect drop shot to finally break.
Third set: Novak Djokovic 6-3 6-2 4-4* Stefanos Tsitsipas
Djokovic has now won 12 points in a row on his serve as he breezes through another love service game with more excellent serving.
Third set: Novak Djokovic 6-3 6-2 *3-4 Stefanos Tsitsipas
Tsitsipas recovers from 15-30 down to keep himself ahead. He is starting to come to the net more and it came good when he needed it. At 30-30, he swept forward behind a big forehand down-the-line and challenged Djokovic to make a good backhand passing shot. He couldnâ€™t and so Tsitsipas picked off an easy volley winner. At 40-30, Tsitsipas defended a couple of big blows from Djokovic before Djokovic finally sent a forehand into the net. A good hold. This set ha smoved very quickly.
Third set: Novak Djokovic 6-3 6-2 3-3* Stefanos Tsitsipas
Novak Djokovic matches Tsitsipas with a quick, uneventful love hold of his own. Amidst some great serving throughout, Djokovic produced an incredible point at 15-0, nailing a backhand down-the-line before sweeping to finish with a forehand. An easy hold.
Q. What do you think was the biggest difference between the match against Diego in Rome and the match today?
RAFAEL NADAL: Well, I donâ€™t know. Well, yes, I know. Sorry (laughter). I think different scenario, first of all. Second thing, I think I am little bit more prepared here, no? Rome have been my first event after six months, and was the first challenge against Diego. Today I think the experience of Rome help me in some way because I was able to take a look on the match, to analyze the things that worked well and things that, of course, didnâ€™t work. Have been most of them, no?
We tried to go on court with a plan, with the right determination. In some way I think I played tactically the right match. I think at the half of the first set I make a couple mistakes tactically and of course technically. But in general terms, I am super happy about the match. Have been an important victory for me against a very tough player. To win against Diego, you have to work a lot and you have to play well for such a long time. Thatâ€™s what I did today, no? I think I played solid. I played with the right determination in most of the moments of the match.
Especially in the tiebreak I finished the match playing well. I needed to be a little bit more aggressive – a little bit – at the half of the third set when I had the score in my favor. I lost couple of opportunities there to close the match before and to not suffer like I suffered at the end.
Third set: Novak Djokovic 6-3 6-2 *2-3 Stefanos Tsitsipas
Tsitsipas breezes his second love hold of the set, closed off with a big unreturned serve out wide. He is serving well, but can he take a break point?
Third set: Novak Djokovic 6-3 6-2 2-2* Stefanos Tsitsipas
A bit of a cheap return game from Tsitsipas there. From 30-15 to Djokovic, the Greek shanked a backhand and forehand in quick succession. An easy hold for Djokovic.
Third set: Novak Djokovic 6-3 6-2 *1-2 Stefanos Tsitsipas
Tsitsipas moves through a good hold to 30, sealed with a huge wrong-footing forehand down the line winner.
It should be noted that Djokovic has now saved break points on each of the opening game of the three sets today.
Third set: Novak Djokovic 6-3 6-2 1-1* Stefanos Tsitsipas
Djokovic saves his 8th(!) break point to open the third set.
There was some great work by Tsitsipas, who defended extremely well from 40-30, eventually annoying Djokovic until he dropped a drive volley into the net. At deuce, he once again soaked up some big blows from Djokovic, eventually crushing a crosscourt forehand on the run and forcing an error from the number one seed.
But Djokovicâ€™s level has just been incredible on break points. This time he took control in a long point, saving the break point with a searing forehand crosscourt. He then connected with a quick serve and forehand one two punch at deuce. On AD-40, Tsitsipas missed a backhand second serve return. Another chance gone.
Third set: Novak Djokovic 6-3 6-2 *0-1 Stefanos Tsitsipas
Stefanos moves to 40-0 in his third consecutive service game. Unlike the previous two that ended in two breaks, this time he immediately gets it done. It is a start.
Second set stats:
Novak Djokovic – 79% first serves in, 73% first serve points won, 50% second serve points won, 46% return points won, 8 winners, 7 unforced errors
Stefanos Tsitsipas – 68% first serves in, 58% first serve points won, 48% second serve points won, 32% return points won, 9 winners, 12 unforced errors
Novak Djokovic moves up 6-3 6-2 against Stefanos Tsitsipas
A few moments ago, this was a tight, tense match. Now it looks easy. Djokovic held to love with three aces in the game. He stands one set away from Nadal.
Second set: Novak Djokovic 6-3 *5-2 Stefanos Tsitsipas
This is moving very quickly now. Tsitsipas was leading 40-0 and once again looked well on his way to a hold, only to lose his game points and eventually his serve.
Djokovic erased one game point with an excellent backhand return and the second with a great drop shot, but then Tsitsipas threw in a poor backhand error followed by a double fault. Tsitsipas saved the first break point well, but then he made two more errors to meekly hand over the double break.
Break points won:
Novak Djokovic – 2/2
Stefanos Tsitsipas – 0/7
Sometimes tennis is as simple as this.
Second set: Novak Djokovic 6-3 4-2* Stefanos Tsitsipas
Djokovic breezes through a quick hold to consolidate the break, sealed with a big service winner down the T. Djokovic has now won 9 of the last 11 points since.
Second set: Novak Djokovic 6-3 *3-2 Stefanos Tsitsipas
Tsitsipas seemed to be cruising up 40-0, then after a loose error on the first point, Djokovicâ€™s unrivalled defence burst into life. First he nailed an incredible crosscourt backhand passing shot, then on consecutive points he threw up two excellent defensive lobs. Tsitsipas let the first overhead bounce, his effort flying just wide. He took the second in the air, which dropped into the net. From 40-0 to 40-AD, Tsitsipas completed the miserable game by shanking a forehand off a shot that struck the net cord. This is becoming an uphill battle now.
Second set: Novak Djokovic 6-3 2-2* Stefanos Tsitsipas
This time, Djokovic recovers from 15-30 down to secure a far easier hold of serve. Djokovic found an excellent running angled forehand when he needed it at 15-30, but Tsitsipas ended the game with a missed backhand second serve return and then a netted forehand. Not quite good enough there.
Second set: Novak Djokovic 6-3 *1-2 Stefanos Tsitsipas
In the first set, Tsitsipas immediately dropped his serve after failing to take early break points. Much better work from the Greek this time.
He rallied from 15-30 down with a nice sequence: serve-forehand 1-2 punch, an excellent crosscourt forehand winner after a medium length point and then an unreturned serve.
Second set: Novak Djokovic 6-3 1-1* Stefanos Tsitsipas
After establishing a 15-30 lead, Tsitsipas chased down a big Djokovic forehand and his defensive forehand landed shot, bringing Djokovic into the net. There was a massive gap for a crosscourt passing shot, but Tsitsipas chose wrong and screamed to the skies after Djokovic finished off the point with an easy volley.
Djokovic has started the second set just a couple more errors and he handed over two break points at 30-40 and 40-AD. Both times, Djokovic found a big first serve, sweeping up the forehand that followed. Despite plenty of friction from Tsitsipas, Djokovic held on.
Incredibly, Djokovic is now 7/7 on break points today.
Second set: Novak Djokovic 6-3 *0-1 Stefanos Tsitsipas
Great serving from Tsitsipas to open the second set with a love hold. Aside from one poor service game in the opening set, he is playing well himself.
First set stats:
Djokovic – 75% first serve points won, 53% second serve points won, 12 winners, 13 unforced errors
Tsitsipas – 70% first serve points won, 50% second serve points won, 33% return points won, 7 winners 9 unforced errors
Novak Djokovic takes the first set 6-3 against Stefanos Tsitsipas
A top class set of tennis from Novak Djokovic, who handled the tense moment on his serve incredibly well.
Djokovic looked to be strolling to a hold with two lovely drop shots behind his serve, then he quickly moved to 40-0 behind a serve-forehand down the line 1-2 punch. Then, confusingly, he lost focus and hit three unforced errors in a row.
A tense point followed at deuce, with Djokovicâ€™s forehand clipping the tape then landing very close to the line. After eventually making a backhand error, Tstsipas returned to the mark and complained to the umpire, claiming it was out. Too late. Djokovic found a big serve on his fourth set point to close it out.
First set: Novak Djokovic *5-3 Stefanos Tsitsipas
After Djokovic opened the game with a lovely drop shot winner, Tsitsipas rolled through another hold to 15. Djokovic will serve for the first set.
Q. Fans always love to compare the big three. As someone who has faced all three of them, talk about briefly what the challenges of the three of them are, and really who do you think is the best tennis player out there?
DIEGO SCHWARTZMAN: Iâ€™m not going to say who is the better. But I can say the most beautiful thing about these three guys is how different are these guys on court and outside the court. They are really different.
If you see, I donâ€™t know, the food from Nole, the food from Rafa or Roger, then how they play on court. One like play on clay, the other one on grass… You know, they are different. Also one lefty, the other one aggressive, the other one is sliding like nobody.
I think the most beautiful thing itâ€™s for sure how different these guys are. So thatâ€™s amazing. From me, is the best part to play with these guys. Iâ€™m enjoying a lot because at this time I can play against these three guys in different tournaments, so Iâ€™m enjoying a lot to see these guys on tour and playing against them.
First set: Novak Djokovic 5-2* Stefanos Tsitsipas
Djokovic holds to move to within a game of the first set, but what started as a sloppy game ended as one of the best. Both players opened the game trading poor errors as they progressed from 15-30 to 40-30 and then to deuce.
But at deuce, Tsitsipas showed everything that he is capable of. First he soaked up some big blows from Djokovic, recovering with an excellent defensive forehand down-the-line, then moving into the net and killing the ball with a beautiful drop volley.
Djokovic responded in kind, handling so much offensive pressure from the Greek, then chasing down a really well executed drop shot before playing a perfect forehand stop volley of his own ion the 23rd stroke.
But Tsitsipas blinked at deuce, sending a forehand long, and Djokovic closed off the game with a quick serve-forehand 1-2 punch.
First set: Novak Djokovic *4-2 Stefanos Tsitsipas
Tsitsipas makes it through another quick, tidy hold to 15, sealed with some great serving and then a serve-forehand 1-2 punch on game point.
Novak Djokovic is already winning 10/11 points behind his first serve.
First set: Novak Djokovic 4-1* Stefanos Tsitsipas
This is so good from Djokovic, who has started at such a high intensity and he also is serving really well. At 30-15, he mixed things up on serve with a kicker to Tsitsipasâ€™s backhand before crunching a forehand winner behind it. Then he closed off the hold to 15 with an unreturned 109mph second serve.
First set: Novak Djokovic *3-1 Stefanos Tsitsipas
Much better work from Tsitsipas, who pieces together a decisive hold to 15 to put himself on the board. Great serving and he finished with a searing crosscourt forehand.