Bonjour! Not to be for us in the semifinal, Rafael Nadal losing only his third match ever at this venue, resulting in a move to 9-2 in the tournament. We aim to reach the magic number 10 in our last article of the fortnight.
Nadal’s adversary in that semifinal, world no. 1 Novak Djokovic, has had an inspired fortnight and is looking for his 19th Major title, which would bring him only one behind the other Big Three members. He’ll face Stefanos Tsitsipas, who’s staking his claim to be the next dominant force on the dirt. Let’s get into it, allez!
Stefanos Tsitsipas vs. Novak Djokovic
Sunday, June 13, 2021 – 09:00 AM EST on Court Philippe-Chatrier
Road to the Final
- Djokovic N. - Nadal R. SF 3-6, 6-3, 7-64, 6-2
- Djokovic N. - Berrettini M. QF 6-3, 6-2, 65-7, 7-5
- Djokovic N. - Musetti L. R16 67-7, 62-7, 6-1, 6-0, 4-0(ret)
- Djokovic N. - Berankis R. 3R 6-1, 6-4, 6-1
- Djokovic N. - Cuevas P. 2R 6-3, 6-2, 6-4
- Djokovic N. - Sandgren T. 1R 6-2, 6-4, 6-2
What. A. Performance. After failing to reach the pinnacle on the dirt in recent years, Novak Djokovic has brought one of his finest clay court matches in ages to the table. The big showdown against Rafael Nadal didn't fail to deliver absolute scenes, but initially, Djokovic looked in peril.
Unable to get The King of Clay off balance and out of harm's way from the lethal forehand, the Serb found himself staring down a 0-5 deficit, very much like last year's final. However, Novak grew into the match, was able to get Rafa hitting uncomfortable first shots after the serve, and effectively pinned him in the backhand corner.
After losing the first set 6-3, Djokovic would display simply scintillating returning. Though Nadal somehow stayed in it and even held a set point to go 2-1 up, some uncharacteristic errors were the Spaniard's undoing. Sfter losing a 96 minute(!) third set, Djokovic closed an exhausting four set win in four hours eleven minutes.
“Each time you step on the court with him, you know that you have to kind of climb Mount Everest to win against this guy here,” said Djokovic after recording only the third win ever against the King of Clay in Paris.
Road to the Final
- Tsitsipas S. - Zverev A. SF 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 4-6, 6-3
- Tsitsipas S. - Medvedev D. QF 6-3, 7-6(3), 7-5
- Tsitsipas S. - Carreno-Busta P. R16 6-3, 6-2, 7-5
- Tsitsipas S. - Isner J. 3R 5-7, 6-3, 7-6(3), 6-1
- Tsitsipas S. - Martinez P. 2R 6-3, 6-4, 6-3
- Tsitsipas S. - Chardy J. 1R 7-6(6), 6-3, 6-1
Though nowhere near the scale of the titanic Big Three tousle, Stefanos Tsitsipas was also embroiled in an intense, drama-filled affair in his semifinal against Alexander Zverev. The Grecian has improved by leaps and bounds this year, especially on clay, and entered this match as the strong favorite on the top betting sites.
With his incredibly calm mind and intelligent decision making, the 22-year old effectively utilizes his wide array of weapons at the best time. Starting with the big serve, booming forehand and naturally following up to the net, Stefanos was able to play most of the points on his own terms, Zverev being far too passive and quickly found himself two sets down.
The big-hitting German is always a tough out, however, and would start to play more aggressively in the third set, daring to put his weight behind his groundstrokes.
He surged to a fifth set and held 0-40 to break first in the deciding set. Tsitsipas would display nerves of steel and reel off the hold with incredibly impressive play. A big turning point that stole Zverev´s momentum, the Grecian broke and served home his, and Greece's, first ever Major final appearance.
It will all have been for naught if Novak Djokovic cannot finish the job after defeating his biggest adversary, or so the world no. 1 will certainly think should he fail to win this title. With his insane returning, athleticism, and mental fortitude, few are able to best him over the Best of 5 sets format.
Though much praised and in the form of his life, Daniil Medvedev found that out the hard way when top online sportsbooks made him a near pick em and he got demolished in straight sets in the 2021 Australian Open final.
Stefanos Tsitsipas has the game to best Djokovic, as he has done on two earlier occasions, but does he have the belief? He's playing in his maiden Major final, and is 0-3 against the world no.1 on clay.
The vast edge in the return of serve on this surface will put each and every service game under significant pressure. Even in last year's heroic semifinal comeback to force a fifth set, the sets he lost were 6-3, 6-2 and 6-1 compared to 6-4 and 7-5 won.
Even if Tsitsipas grabs one or even two sets, Djokovic has the capability to steamroll sets. With the form he's displayed in that semifinal, the Serb's handicap betting odds certainly deserve an investment as he aims to take no. 19 in style.
*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.