Novak Djokovic came back to win their 58th career matchup 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (4), 6-2 at Roland Garros in Paris on Friday night, ending Rafa Nadal’s bid for a 14th French Open title and a record-breaking 21st Grand Slam title overall.
It was Nadal’s third defeat in 108 matches at a tournament he had won the previous four years.
Nadal’s first defeat at the French Open came in 2009 against Robin Soderling, and his second came in 2015 against Djokovic.
“Just one of these nights and matches you’ll remember forever,” said Djokovic, who has reached his sixth final at the clay-court major.
Following a 6-3 loss in the first set, the world number one nailed down the semifinals in a single stroke, winning the next three sets with only a fight-back in the third.
This was the 58th meeting between the two legendary players, with the first meeting taking place 15 years ago in 2006. Djokovic has a 30-28 lead in the match.
Djokovic’s final opponent will be Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas, who defeated Germany’s Alexander Zverev 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 4-6, 6-3.