French Open 2021 LIVE - Can Novak Djokovic stop Rafael Nadal reaching another final at Roland Garros?
Rafael Nadal looks poised to make it to the French Open final for a 14th time but standing in his way is world number one Novak Djokovic who was the last man to beat the Spaniard at the tournament in 2015. In the other semi, Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas are both aiming for a first ever Roland Garros final.
Novak Djokovic has been in fine form at Roland-Garros
Published 11/06/2021 at 13:04 GMT | Updated 11/06/2021 at 21:29 GMT
It's the final four of the French Open on the men's side with 13-time winner Rafael Nadal looking to reach the final once again where he has a perfect record throughout his career.
Standing in his way is world number one Novak Djokovic who is determined to get the better of his rival at the tournament for the first time since 2015, when he because just the second man to beat the Spaniard at Roland Garros. In the other semi, Stefanos Tsitsipas reached his first ever major final after edging Alexander Zverev in five sets.
Well that was exhausting but a privilege to witness. There will be a different name on that Roland Garros trophy this year. Join us again on Sunday for Djokovic v Tsitsipas - but don't forget the women's showpiece tomorrow. Thank you, and good night!
GAME, SET AND MATCH! - NADAL 6-3 3-6 6-7 2-6 DJOKOVIC
It’s a MASSIVE moment in Roland Garros history. Djokovic breaks to 15 to take six games in a row and triumph after four hours and 10 minutes. The 13-time champion Rafael Nadal is OUT at the semi final stage after losing for only the third time ever at the tournament. Novak Djokovic has beaten him for the second time in the Paris major (at the ninth time of asking in their H2H here) and denies the Spaniard a chance to fight for his 21st Grand Slam on Sunday. Instead, the world number one will meet Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final. A Djokovic win would take him to 19 majors and could see him become the first man in the Open era to win all four Grand Slams twice. Djokovic also takes a 30-28 lead in the overall H2H with Nadal.
NADAL 6-3 3-6 6-7 2-5 DJOKOVIC
That’s a big step towards his goal. Djokovic keeps Nadal at bay after the Spaniard suggested he was about to make another move with a fizzing forehand up the line. A third double fault gives Rafa a glimmer but a huge wide serve quashes the hope. Mr Elastic somehow gets to a rocket of a forehand and the defensive block clips the baseline. A scintillating drop shot then claims a point he should never have had a hope of saving and the Serb consolidates. He is one game from the final.
BREAK! - NADAL 6-3 3-6 6-7 2-4 DJOKOVIC
It’s four games in a row and this match is looking beyond Nadal now. Djokovic is stunned when a defensive lob lands out. He feels he can’t miss right now. Nadal shakes his head at the constant precision and depth. Another return proves too good and the reigning champion is on the canvas. Can he get back up?
NADAL 6-3 3-6 6-7 2-3 DJOKOVIC
This is world class from the best player on the planet. He makes it three games on the spin with another love hold. He’s keen to get this done in four.
BREAK! - NADAL 6-3 3-6 6-7 2-2 DJOKOVIC
All square. The momentum has switched back to Djokovic. Nadal helps him along with a seventh double before a brilliant return and a backhand long from Rafa earn the top seed a break to 15.
NADAL 6-3 3-6 6-7 2-1 DJOKOVIC
That was sublime. A drop shot, an overhead, a stupendous forehand and an ace rocket the Serb on to the board.
BREAK! - NADAL 6-3 3-6 6-7 1-0 DJOKOVIC
Incredible. Nole looks composed at 30-0 but a strange choice of drop shot heightens Nadals’ interest. Djokovic dips and coughs up BP. He again has chances to make deuce but leaves a gap for Nadal to take advantage of. He steps in to lash a crosscourt backhand and get off to the start he was hoping for.
The Serb finally takes the third set and leads 2-1. It all changes at 4-3 in the breaker when Nadal misses a sitter of a volley at the net. Djokovic hangs on to the mini break and claims the tie break by a 7-4 scoreline. Nadal did have a set point at 6-5 in the set but in truth the world number one was the better player for much of it.
It’s finely poised at 3-3 at the change of ends. Nadal kicks it off with a shocker of a double fault. Djokovic then fires long but just about clips the line with a forehand to get back on track. The Serb defends brilliantly but can’t slice a dink over the net and then rifles a backhand just wide up the line. Djokovic goes on the offensive and swats away a volley at the net to level.
NADAL 6-3 3-6 6-6 DJOKOVIC
That was a VERY twitchy moment. Djokovic clobbers a make-able forehand long for 15-30 but keeps his nerve to put away a crosscourt overhead. He needs to re-focus from deuce when Nadal unloads a forehand up the line. The Spaniard outlasts the Serb in a stunning rally to grab a set point with a crosscourt backhand but Nole has nerves of steel to pull off a sumptuous drop shot. Nadal has two bites at a winner in the next two points but nets them both and we’ll head into a tie break.
BREAK! - NADAL 6-3 3-6 5-5 DJOKOVIC
Nadal gives it everything to try and break back – and he does! A wonderful backhand pass is followed by a brilliant forehand up the opposite flank. Djokovic can’t believe it and tightens up on BP. Nadal presses him back for one of the only times in the set with a flurry of forehands and lures the error. How is he level?
NADAL 6-3 3-6 4-5 DJOKOVIC
That’s an extreme level. Nadal slams down a fifth ace but can’t rest easy as Djoker makes a shot up the line on the stretch you simply dream about. Rafa follows up with a one-two punch that clips the baseline before a big serve lures an error long. He needs more of those types of games if he’s going to somehow turn this around. Djokovic will now serve for a 2-1 lead.
NADAL 6-3 3-6 3-5 DJOKOVIC
That’s a strange game but Djokovic won’t care as he comes through unscathed to back up the break. Nadal defends like crazy and benefits from a few Djoker errors to force a break back opportunity. Nole gets a time violation but channels his anger into a thunderous crosscourt forehand to make deuce. Rafa makes some horrible errors off the backhand and then drills a forehand an inch wide to let Djokovic off the hook.
BREAK! - NADAL 6-3 3-6 3-4 DJOKOVIC
After all of that hard work, Nadal completely falls apart with three quick-fire unforced errors that cough up a break to love.
That’s a huge chance for Nadal – and somehow he makes it count! He conjures up a wonderous crosscourt backhand return winner and then has two bites at the break back when his own retrieval of a lob clips the net, touches his racket and bounces away. Rafa wastes the first but only incredible defence from Djokovic saves a second. The Serbinator plays to the crowd but then has to face a third. This time Nadal reads him and pushes a winner down his left flank to somehow pull level.
BREAK! - NADAL 6-3 3-6 2-3 DJOKOVIC
Nadal is in trouble here. He shanks a simple overhead at 15-15 and you sense straight away that it’s going to be key. The Spaniard drills long under more intense pressure and has two more break points to contend with. He saves one as Nole can’t quite dig out a drop shot and then a second with an ace. The Serb somehow stays alive in the next rally and Rafa can’t quite make a backhand pass from out of court. Nadal then undoes his hard work battling back with a poor drop shot into the net. Djoker is on course to take a 2-1 lead here. Nadal just isn't getting enough depth on his attacking shots to cause problems at the moment.
NADAL 6-3 3-6 2-2 DJOKOVIC
The Nadal backhand has creaked a lot since the opening set. He needs that to fire if he’s going to come out on top. He leaks them too easily by his own high standards and Nole cruises to a love hold.
NADAL 6-3 3-6 2-1 DJOKOVIC
What a hold! The Mallorcan has to hit a corker of a forehand just to make 30-30 but then comes under intense pressure. Nole earns a break point that’s fended off by a clutch one-two punch but a low backhand into the net offers him another opportunity. Nadal saves it with a big forehand before a wonderful overhead and some delicious hand skills to flick away a drop shot get him out of dodge.
NADAL 6-3 3-6 1-1 DJOKOVIC
Nadal will be disappointed. He’s in the game at 30-15 but runs around a return and dumps the forehand low into the net. Djoker slams down an ace and it’s an easy hold. The 13-time champion will be keen to try and make an early statement after being on the back foot for much of that second set.
NADAL 6-3 3-6 1-0 DJOKOVIC
Nadal takes an age taking a comfort break but comes out refreshed. He finds some hefty serves and belts that forehand deep to assume control from the start. A scorcher of a forehand right to the far corner is the perfect way to conclude a hold to 15 to kick off Set 3.
Match … ON! Djoker can’t believe it when Nadal claws a crosscourt backhand pass beyond him after failing to finish off an overhead. The Serb double faults to cough up break point but Nadal inexplicably guides a backhand wide to allow him to make deuce. A wonderful low slice conjures up another but Djokovic swats it away with a clinical winner before Nadal ballons the return. One apiece and anyone's match.
Rafa poses the serve-out question with a very routine hold. It’s completely out of context in the match but most welcome from the No.3 seed’s point of view. Djokovic will now serve for the set.
NADAL 6-3 2-5 DJOKOVIC
It’s a classic game that has both men gasping for air. Nadal goes on the attack but has to show elasticity akin to Djoker to switch between his offence and defence. He conjures up two break points but thunders wide on a backhand when he seemed set to convert the second. Djoker then hooks a backhand volley into the net after an incredible rally and Rafa has a third. A lung-bursting exchange inevitably ensues with neither wanting to budge an inch, but it’s Nadal who caves first with a backhand into the net. Djokovic eventually finds a crisp backhand to edge ahead and the No.3 seed blazes a forehand wide to let him wriggle clear. Nadal will now serve to stay in the set.
BREAK! - NADAL 6-3 2-4 DJOKOVIC
That is a sensational return game from the top seed. He jumps into a crosscourt backhand to nail an early winner and then has the King of Clay sliding all over his favoured turf trying to fend off the onslaught to his baseline. Nadal saves one of three break points with a crunching forehand and then another with a delicious touch in a face-off at the net. It has to be that god from the No.3 seed who can’t manage another clutch point and coughs up another break when he scuffs a forehand into the tramlines on the stretch.
It’s pretty comfortable for Novak. Nadal fires a return long, fizzes a backhand wide and then flashes into the net off the same wing. He can’t come close to applying any pressure and the Serb nudges the board again with a hold to 15.
NADAL 6-3 2-2 DJOKOVIC
That’s excellent from Nadal. He’s cranked it up a gear to add more depth to his own looping forehand and it’s earning more errors from Novak. The Spaniard corks a brilliant serve down the middle T to take charge at 40-30 and manages to ease through to level.
BREAK! - NADAL 6-3 0-2 DJOKOVIC
The momentum was shifting at the end of Set 1 and it’s clear on the scoreboard now. Djoker bullies Nadal way back beyond the baseline with magnificent depth to snare triple break point. Nadal saves one with a sensational drop shot as he back pedalled. However, the Spaniard scorches just wide with a crosscourt forehand and the Serb roars in delight. He’s very much in this match now.
NADAL 6-3 0-1 DJOKOVIC
Djoker gets away with a fortunate net cord for 30-0 and Nadal sizzles just wide off both wings to allow the Serb his most comfortable hold of the match so far.
SET! - NADAL 6-3 DJOKOVIC
“Vamos!” That’s the scream of Nadal as he produces a sensational defensive lob to clock up three more set points. Somehow he doesn’t take a fourth with an overhead smash that Djoker blocks into the open court and a fifth goes begging when he lobs long. He’s tight now and a sixth sizzles into the net from a weak forehand. A big serve earns a seventh opportunity and this time it is done as Djoker can only defend a rasping forehand into the net.
NADAL 5-3 DJOKOVIC
Nadal threatens with a trademark crosscourt forehand to make 0-30 and then the same shot forces a long error for a third set point. The world number one saves it with a nervy overhead and then plays a wonderful point to guide home the winner and take charge. Nadal will now look to serve it out for a second time…
BREAK! - NADAL 5-2 DJOKOVIC
Rafa’s first serve initially goes AWOL and Djoker pounces to make life very difficult. A brilliant early return takes the top seed to 0-30 before a superb drop shot snares two more break points. Nadal saves one with a wonderful wrong-footing forehand on the back pedal before dominating the next rally to earn an error and make deuce. The 13-time champion plays clutch tennis to earn two separate set points but Novak refuses to let him take the opener. The pendulum swings the way of the Serb when the No.3 seed loops just long and Nole finally converts via Nadal’s double fault. Set on?
NADAL 5-1 DJOKOVIC
No repeat of last year. Nadal fires two returns long and the Serb corks a backhand pass up the line to take control. Nadal threatens to apply more pressure with a banana shot up the line but then hits another into the net as he looked to make deuce. Novak is on the board and avoids the bagel.
NADAL 5-0 DJOKOVIC
The top seed whistles a millimetre long and then just wide. It seems to be all against him until Nadal gives him hope with a second double fault. Another of those very familiar rallies ensues but Djokovic sizzles long again and Nadal edges the game to 30 with a timely big first serve. It's 5-0 and yet it feels like it's been a lot closer than that.
BREAK! - NADAL 4-0 DJOKOVIC
The world number one is struggling at this moment in time. He looked superb in that opener but since being broken he’s gone away for a while. Nadal draws two more break points with a high bouncing forehand that the Serb can only drag well off court via the backhand. Novak then dumps a tight forehand into the net and Rafa has the double break.
NADAL 3-0 DJOKOVIC
The No.3 seed sizzles a winner and follows up with a beauty of a drop shot that nicks the net on its way over. The Mallorcan doesn’t look back from there as he consolidates with a love hold. What an intriguing start to this match.
BREAK! - NADAL 2-0 DJOKOVIC
Wow! That is incredible. Djokovic looks nervy throughout and Nadal ups the ante deep in the game to pinch it and break. The Spaniard hits a thunderous forehand winner from 40-15 down and then digs in at deuce when the Serb dumps a timid drop shot into the net. Nadal conjures up some magic with a delicious pick-up crosscourt to snare BP and then converts with majestic court coverage after Nole again struggled in the air.
NADAL 1-0 DJOKOVIC
It’s a brilliant start from Nole – but it’s Nadal who hangs on to hold after a tense nine-minute opener! Djokovic was overwhelmed early last year but he’s in-tune from the off here. Nadal finds some big serves but the Serb charges in on a poor drop shot and rifles away a backhand winner. A deep, probing approach then forces an error into the net from Rafa and it’s an immediate break opportunity. An ace saves it but Novak is getting the greater length and earns a second chance. Again, Nadal finds a clutch serve down the T to swat it away but just when he seems set to close it out he double faults. The pressure mounts as the clock ticks on in a very lengthy opener. Nadal somehow reaches a lob to the far corner and forces Djoker to play an overhead that he blazes long. Nadal then escapes when the Serb misses again with a crosscourt attempt.
This is their 58th meeting. Djokovic leads the match-up 29-28. Nadal won their most recent clash in the final of this year’s Rome Masters. The Spaniard prevailed 7-5 1-6 6-3 to claim his 10th title in the Italian capital. Nadal also defeated Djokovic (6-0 6-2 7-5) in last year’s Roland Garros final to tie with Roger Federer on 20 at the top of the list of all-time Grand Slam winners.
Now for the main course
It is almost time for semi final two and a clash between two of the GOAT contenders in the men’s game. The reigning champion and 13-time winner of Roland Garros, Rafael Nadal will face world number one Novak Djokovic. Not only will this match decide which player will go on to fight for the trophy on Sunday but it could also have major implications for the Grand Slam leaderboard. It’s quite simply a monumental showdown and it’ll all be getting underway on Chatrier shortly.
GAME, SET AND MATCH! – TSITSIPAS 6-3 6-3 4-6 4-6 6-3 ZVEREV
He’s done it! Stefanos Tsitsipas is into his maiden Grand Slam final after resisting Zverev’s comeback from two sets down to prevail in a decider after a rollercoaster three hours and 37 minutes on Court Philippe-Chatrier. The No.5 seed served it out with an ace on his fifth match point to prevail. He will now meet either Nadal or Djokovic on Sunday after becoming the first Greek player to reach a major final.
TSITSIPAS 6-3 6-3 4-6 4-6 5-3 ZVEREV
That is quite sensational. Zverev refuses to let his dream die just yet. The big serve works wonders to stave off Stef’s attack. It’s the longest game of the match but he’s still in after saving FOUR match points.
ZVEREV SERVING TO STAY IN THE TOURNAMENT
Stef's return game finds some rhythm and his forehand works a treat before luring an error long. It offers up TWO match points. Zverev saves both with a huge serve and a nerve-less drop shot. A third comes along... ACE! Three match points saved. Incredible. Zverev looks to take charge but a big forehand hits the net and lands wide. MP number four.... But there's another huge serve... DEUCE...
TSITSIPAS 6-3 6-3 4-6 4-6 5-2 ZVEREV
Tsitsipas has that forehand firing and it does lots of damage. Zverev hits back with aa rasping winner of hi own but a big serve seals a strong hold to 15. Tsitsipas is one game from the final!
TSITSIPAS 6-3 6-3 4-6 4-6 4-2 ZVEREV
Sascha corks a forehand winner and then Stef flashes a return wide. It’s simple and efficient from there as he sandwiches a double fault between two aces to stay in touch.
TSITSIPAS 6-3 6-3 4-6 4-6 4-1 ZVEREV
That was seriously hard work for Stefanos. He struggles to find cheap points and relies on two make-able misses from Zverev to rally from 15-30. That first serve eventually fires on game point and he backs up the break. Can he stay solid to finally clinch that spot in the final that seemed certain to be his an hour and a half ago?
BREAK! – TSITSIPAS 6-3 6-3 4-6 4-6 3-1 ZVEREV
Tsitsipas raises his arm aloft as if he’s just scored the winner at the Euros! It could be almost as big as Zverev loses concentration and wavers with some poor errors. There’s a double fault in there too as the German drops serve for the first time in a long while
TSITSIPAS 6-3 6-3 4-6 4-6 2-1 ZVEREV
Wow, that was rampant. Tsitsipas bounces around that baseline, thumping down hefty serves and unloading the forehand. It’s a message to Zverev that he’s got the energy to do what it takes as he cruises to the love hold.
TSITSIPAS 6-3 6-3 4-6 4-6 1-1 ZVEREV
Stefanos opens by staying in a long rally before snatching at a forehand and blazing wide. Zverev reels of a quick trio of points before some fine hitting and finishing at the net give the Greek a half chance. It isn’t to be though. Zverev slams the door and no-one is blinking early on in what has become one-set shoot-out.
TSITSIPAS 6-3 6-3 4-6 4-6 1-0 ZVEREV
That is CLUTCH! Tsitsipas needs something special as an ill-timed double fault coughs up triple BP. He switches to Greek God mode and somehow drags himself through five points in a row to lead the board in the decider.
TSITSIPAS 6-3 6-3 4-6 4-6 ZVEREV
All square! Zverev hits back from two sets down to level at 2-2! The German just about angles a stun volley in at the net following a sensational 27-shot rally to make 15-15. A big serve and a wonderful lob earn him two set points and another heavy delivery claims it at the second time of asking. Who is your money on now? That place in the final is anyone’s!
TSITSIPAS 6-3 6-3 4-6 4-5 ZVEREV
Tsitsipas is fuming at himself as he falls 0-30 behind. He’s desperate to test Zverev’s nerve in serving out the set. He doesn’t want to hand it to him and responds magnificently. He reels off four points in a row and it’s over to Zverev now…
TSITSIPAS 6-3 6-3 4-6 3-5 ZVEREV
Sascha continues the charge towards levelling the match. He easily holds to love and is one game away from taking us into a decider.
Most service games have flown by in this set and this one is no different. The Athenian clocks up another love hold with the minimum of fuss. Will we have some late drama now we are heading into the business end of things?
TSITSIPAS 6-3 6-3 4-6 2-4 ZVEREV
Stefanos looks to make his move when Zverev shanks an awkward forehand off court. The Greek presses at pulp (30-30) with great length and angle on a backhand but Zverev refuses to give him a glimmer and slams the door shut from there.
TSITSIPAS 6-3 6-3 4-6 2-3 ZVEREV
The calm before the storm? Zverev pinches a point but that’s all it is as Tsitsipas stays on contention.
TSITSIPAS 6-3 6-3 4-6 1-3 ZVEREV
Tsitsipas can’t get a look-in on that Zverev serve at present. The No.6 seed maintains his advantage with another love hold. You can see his belief is back, but will nerves kick in as he gets closer to his target?
TSITSIPAS 6-3 6-3 4-6 1-2 ZVEREV
Don’t mention that to Stef though! He still has designs on a four-set victory here. He gets back on the board and sets about starting his recovery with a much more solid love hold of his own.
'That's b*******!' - Zverev lets rip in furious rant at umpire over decision
TSITSIPAS 6-3 6-3 4-6 0-2 ZVEREV
It’s starting to get the five-setter vibe. Zverev marauds to a love hold. He’s found his best form just in time and we have a real tussle on our hands now.
BREAK! – TSITSIPAS 6-3 6-3 4-6 0-1 ZVEREV
What a swing in momentum. Tsitsipas just can’t get himself back on track. He rifles a passing backhand winner at 30-30 but is pressed to deuce. He’s played poorly on break points today and he comes unstuck again when he strikes a tame forehand and shaky forehand into the net. Zverev is three from three on BPs so far. Tsitsipas walks to his towel and shouts at his team in Greek. He’s not at all happy with how his game has deteriorated.
SET! - TSITSIPAS 6-3 6-3 4-6 ZVEREV
Alexander serves it out to love and reduces the deficit. It’s not as efficient as it sounds as he completely frames a tentative smash from a weak lob but is grateful to see it just about drop over the net. The German has some momentum. What can Stef do in response? Set Four coming up!
TSITSIPAS 6-3 6-3 4-5 ZVEREV
Sascha completely loses it and swears at the umpire over a call over a Tsitsipas that caught the baseline. It seems odd to make such a drama over that. He channels the anger in the right way to up the ante with a lob for 30-30 but Tsitsipas – who remained completely unfazed during the tantrum – poses the serve-out question.
TSITSIPAS 6-3 6-3 3-5 ZVEREV
The 24-year-old German rattles through the gears to fend off the danger once more after a pair of unforced errors saw Stefs eyes light up. Zverev finds clutch serving to take control and then comes out on top in a wonderful rally after a thumping backhand set up a simple pass into the space off the other wing. He’s closing in on Set 3.
'Set away from history' - Tsitsipas wins second set against Zverev
TSITSIPAS 6-3 6-3 3-4 ZVEREV
Stefanos shrugs off the disappointment of those nearly moments to rampage to a convincing hold to 15. He’ll look to try and apply similar heat this time around. Can Zverev find that big first serve? It’s not clicked enough so far today.
TSITSIPAS 6-3 6-3 2-4 ZVEREV
Stefanos takes advantage of a double fault to crank up the heat with a divine backhand up the line on the slide. He then moves out of Greek God-mode as he somehow misses a routine forehand pass for triple break point and then skies a miscue into the crowd. Zverev then coughs up a break point with a terrible volely that barely makes the net but some clutch serving helps the German No.6 seed wriggle out of dodge. Tsitsipas will feel he should have made that count.
TSITSIPAS 6-3 6-3 2-3 ZVEREV
The Zverev charge is checked slightly as Tsitsipas gives a timely reminder that he’s still got plenty invested in this set. A pair of aces help him along to a very tidy hold.
TSITSIPAS 6-3 6-3 1-3 ZVEREV
Sascha looks to engage the crowd, calling for them to raise the noise after winning a lovely exchange at the net with a volleyed pass on the stretch. Tsitsipas seems to have lost that rock-solid focus and it’s a simple enough hold from there to consolidate.
TSITSIPAS 6-3 6-3 1-1 ZVEREV
Sascha stops the rot! He duffs a forehand into the net as Tsitsipas eyes an early break at deuce. But Zverev refuses to let this one slip and finally gets back on the board after a shocking run with a scorching, low crosscourt backhand winner.
TSITSIPAS 6-3 6-3 1-0 ZVEREV
That is SEVEN games on the spin for a very dominant Stefanos Tsitsipas. He’s just too solid for Zverev at the moment. Sascha is not flowing as he stumbles into a shot that clips the line and flaps it horribly into the net. He tires to dig in and turn the tide but is left stranded at the net as Stef passes him down the line after drawing him in with smart drop shot.
SET! - TSITSIPAS 6-3 6-3 ZVEREV
Set 2 to Tsitsipas but it’s another disaster from Sascha’s point of view. The No.6 seed rushes at a drive volley and blows it wide despite most of the court being completely open. It tees up set point that he just about saves with a less than convincing overhead. The German looks bereft of belief though and cracks a backhand approach up the line into the net before wildly sizzling a forehand long. Tsitsipas is just one set away from a first ever appearance in a Grand Slam final.
TSITSIPAS 6-3 5-3 ZVEREV
Tsitsipas is in the zone. He hits a bewitching short slice and then drops his racket after hammering down a beastly serve – but still wins the point! Zverev can’t do enough to apply much pressure and the Greek notches up a fifth game in a row. He’s one away from a two-set lead.
Roland-Garros: Great point of Tsitsipas against Zverev
Image credit: Eurosport
BREAK! – TSITSIPAS 6-3 4-3 ZVEREV
That is a brilliant return game. Tsitsipas shows wonderful movement and court coverage to dance towards the net before adjusting superbly to guide in a volley winner to up the ante at 0-30. The Greek then dominates a blistering rally to glide in once again and deftly caress the ball into the corner and clock up a pair of break points. Zverev retorts with a backhand winner up the line and throws everything at his opponent but comes unstuck when a bewitching low, side slice catches him out and he skews a shot off court via the net cord.
TSITSIPAS 6-3 3-3 ZVEREV
Sascha skies a forehand return and Tsitsipas gets the job done to hold to 30. All square and the Greek now has his mojo flowing again.
BREAK! – TSITSIPAS 6-3 2-3 ZVEREV
Stefanos is back in business! The break doesn’t look on as Zverev confidently lashes a short-angled crosscourt forehand to assume a 30-0 lead. However, the service wobbles suddenly kick in from nowhere. He double faults and can’t conjure up another cheap point. A backhand on the run clips the net and flies out to cough up a first BP. Stef hits a tame forehand into the net to miss the opportunity but then Zverev implodes. The German drags a forehand wide and arrows into the tramlines to undo all his hard work.
TSITSIPAS 6-3 1-3 ZVEREV
That’s some big serving from Tsitsipas and it does pretty much all of the damage as he belatedly eases on to the board.
TSITSIPAS 6-3 0-3 ZVEREV
Sascha backs up the break after being pressed to deuce. A big serve keeps Tsitsipas at arm’s length before a huge slice of fortune sees a big backhand clip the net and bobble in.
BREAK! – TSITSIPAS 6-3 0-2 ZVEREV
There’s no doubt Zverev is looking to be much more aggressive now – and it pays almost instant dividends. Tsitsipas responds to the German’s angled pick-up from the drop shot with a heavy crosscourt forehand to make 30-30. Zverev unloads a huge backhand down the line to claim a first BP of the match and screams in delight when Stef loops a forehand long.
TSITSIPAS 6-3 0-1 ZVEREV
That’s the perfect confidence-booster to kick off Set 2. Zverev is far more positive as steps forward into his shots and then glides into the net to angle home a volley and clinch a very solid love hold.
SET! -TSITSIPAS 6-3 ZVEREV
Tsitsipas has his first real internal battle to overcome. He conjures up a big wide serve at 30-30 to snare a set point but lashes wide off the forehand. He goes back to the obvious playbook and lands that wide first serve again. Zverev has opportunities in a cagey rally that ensues but doesn’t really go for it and ends up ruing that decision as he drifts a backhand wide to fall a set behind.
TSITSIPAS 5-3 ZVEREV
Sascha has a mini wobble from 40-0 up and a third double gets Stef interested again. The German responds with a big serve his opponent can’t get back and ensures Stef will have to serve for the set.
TSITSIPAS 5-2 ZVEREV
This is more like it. It’s the most entertaining game of the match so far. Zverev misses with a tweener after being undone by a drop-lob combo but the German is starting to find more rhythm in the crosscourt rallies. He looks to press to deuce but after some brilliant defence gets him back into the point at 40-30 he then hooks an over-zealous backhand well wide.
TSITSIPAS 4-2 ZVEREV
That’s just the tonic. Zverev retorts and polishes off a rapid love hold of his own with his second ace of the contest.
TSITSIPAS 4-1 ZVEREV
That’s just too strong. Zverev looks towards his team with a hopeless expression as Tsitsipas charges through a very clean love hold. In contrast, the 22-year-old Athenian is oozing confidence and belief right now.
TSITSIPAS 3-1 ZVEREV
They’ve both been in the last four of majors before and yet there are some clear nerves out there. Zverev’s forehand is often highlighted as a weakness and he balloons one off court to give Stef a slither of a chance. The Greek can’t lock in though as he surprisingly balloons two off his usually reliable forehand to allow the No.6 seed to get on the board.
Tsitsipas is aiming for the French Open final
Image credit: Getty Images
TSITSIPAS 3-0 ZVEREV
It feels like this has only just started but already Tsitsipas is firmly in the driving seat. He consolidates with a hold to 30 and Sascha already has a lot of work to do to get himself back into this set.
BREAK! – TSITSIPAS 2-0 ZVEREV
That’s a gift. Zverev looks very edgy out there. A pair of double faults leave the German playing catch up. He saves one of two break points with an ace before blowing a forehand to hand Stef the perfect start.
TSITSIPAS 1-0 ZVEREV
The big serve/thumping forehand combo works a treat to begin with but Tsitsipas misses with a slice drop shot and then chucks in a double fault. It turns his opening service game into a tricky one. Zverev presses him to deuce but can’t carve out an early opening.
Zverev is in his third major semi final but has already made a final having finished as runner up at the 2020 US Open. This is his best run in Paris having reached the last eight in 2018 and 2019. The German also looked strong on clay this year and won the Madrid Masters leading up to Paris.
Tsitsipas is playing in his fourth Grand Slam semi final and is hoping to make the final for the first time. He currently leads the Race to Turin. The Greek starlet has been majestic on clay this year. He won titles in Monte Carlo and Lyon and came close to upsetting Nadal in the final in Barcelona.
View from the baseline(s)
Zverevon why it took him so long to make an impression in the latter stages of the Majors: “I was not very patient with myself, which I feel like now maybe I learned how to deal with the situation a little bit better, I’m maybe a little bit calmer at the tournaments. But the end goal hasn’t changed.”
Tsitsipas: “I’ve put in a lot of daily hard work and that has been a key element of me being here. But you know, my ego tells me I want more.”
Alexander Zverev v Stefanos Tsitsipas – Who will prevail in semi-final?
Tsitsipas leads the match-up 5-2. The Greek won their only previous meeting on clay in Madrid back in 2019. However, Zverev triumphed I’m their most recent clash when he beat Stefanos in the Acapulco final earlier this year.
Welcome to our LIVE updates of the men’s semi finals at the 2021 French Open. We’ve got a truly mouthwatering line-up of matches coming up. Later, world No.1 Novak Djokovic will lock horns with the man he regards as his greatest rival of all, the King of Clay himself, Rafael Nadal.
But first, it’s a showdown that could become a regular face-off in the latter stages of Slams in the years to come. Greek fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas takes on German sixth seed Alexander Zverev with both men serious contenders to win a maiden major. The players are due on court from 1.50pm BST.