Novak Djokovic claimed a massive victory over "The King of Clay" Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals of the 2021 French Open. The world number one achieved the near-impossible feat and ended the defending champion's reign at Roland Garros. He will be aiming to win his second title in Paris against Stefanos Tsitsipas on Sunday.
Nadal took off to a great start and won the first set before the Serb fought hard to manufacture a four-set win that will go down in history books. The top seed won 3-6 6-3 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 to end Nadal's four-year winning streak. Incidentally, it was Djokovic who won the title in 2016 before Nadal's latest string of French Open victories.
However, Djokovic still has a lot to catch up on as Nadal was going for a record-extending 14th title. The 34-year-old Serb will be gunning for only a second victory at Roland Garros. Overall though, Djokovic has an opportunity to close the gap to both Nadal and Roger Federer in the all-time list of Grand Slam titles. The Swiss ace and the Spaniard jointly hold the record for 20 majors each, while Djokovic currently holds 18.
22-year-old Tsitsipas will be doing everything in his power to stop Djokovic, as he attempts to make history in his first Grand Slam final. It was a symbolic victory for Djokovic as he took out Nadal, but it may be even more meaningful if someone from the "NextGen" of tennis takes the throne on Sunday.
The Greek fifth seed may seem like the underdog, but he can not be written off so easily. He may be going up against the world number one but he defeated Nadal in the quarter-finals of this year's Australian Open just a few months ago before winning the title at the ATP1000 event in Monte-Carlo. He was also in the final in Barcelona, falling short against Nadal.
Both players had gruelling semi-final matches, and they have a full day to recover before the final on Sunday. It will be the old guard versus the next generation, and the entire tennis community will be at full attention.