, Tsitispas into French Open final as Djokovic, Nadal set for 58th meeting, Nzuchi Times

Tsitispas into French Open final as Djokovic, Nadal set for 58th meeting

, Tsitispas into French Open final as Djokovic, Nadal set for 58th meeting, Nzuchi Times

Stefanos Tsitsipas became the first Greek player to reach a Grand Slam final at the French Open on Friday as Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal were set to meet for the 58th time in their "historic rivalry".

Fifth-seeded Tsitsipas claimed a 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 4-6, 6-3 victory over Germany’s Alexander Zverev, ending a streak of three successive semi-final losses at the majors.

“It was nerve-wracking, so intense, I stayed alive. I went out there and fought. This win means a lot, it’s the most important one of my career so far.”

After giving up a two-set lead, Tsitsipas crucially saved three break points in the first game of the deciding set.

In a 10-minute eighth game, Zverev saved four match points, the second with a drop shot, the third with an ace.

Tsitsipas will have his work cut out on Sunday — he is 2-7 against Nadal and 2-5 playing Djokovic.

He also had a match point to beat Nadal in the Barcelona final.

Djokovic and Nadal will clash on the same Court Philippe Chatrier where they first met 15 years ago.

Djokovic has spent more weeks at world number one than any other player while 13-time French Open winner Nadal has not been out of the top 10 in 16 years.

The 35-year-old also has the edge over Djokovic on clay with a 19-7 career lead and 7-1 in Paris.

He can, however, boast being one of only two men to have defeated Nadal in Paris, in the quarter-finals in 2015.

“We had some battles over the years on this court.”

There is plenty at stake on Friday as the two rivals close in on Sunday’s final.

Victory for Nadal would give him a record-setting 21st major, breaking a tie with Roger Federer.

It’s been a topsy-turvy tournament for Djokovic.

In the quarter-finals, he dropped the third set against Matteo Berrettini.

But despite his clay court stranglehold on Djokovic, Nadal isn’t getting too far ahead of himself.

dj/jc

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