The Roland Garros 2020 men's singles will offer the most obvious final but also the best possible. In fact, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal will meet for the 56th time, the second in the final in Paris after that of 2014.
After the Spaniard had beaten Diego Schwartzman's resistance in three sets, the world number 1 survived a great scare beating an indomitable Stefanos Tsitsipas with the score of 6-3 6-2 5-7 4-6 6-1 in 3 hours and 54 minutes of play.
For the Serbian phenomenon this is the 27th Grand Slam final, the fifth at Roland Garros, where only Rafael Nadal (13) and Bjorn Borg (6) have more appearances in the last act. If he wins, Nole would put his 18th Major on the board, instead forcing Nadal to postpone the appointment with Roger Federer's record hook.
In recent years, Djokovic has proved almost unbeatable in the Grand Slam semi-finals, having scored 13 out of 14 victories from the start of the 2015 season to date. The champion of the 2016 edition will also try to become the third man in history to have won all four Grand Slams more than once.
Djokovic joins Nadal in the final in Paris
After having canceled four break points in the inaugural game, the seeding number 1 placed the draw thanks to an extraordinary right in the winning race. Djokovic showed a very different physical condition compared to the day before yesterday against Pablo Carreno Busta, so much so that he resisted the attempted reaction of the Greek forced to surrender in an exhausting exchange of 23 shots.
Yet another straight winner allowed Novak to file the set in just over 40 minutes. The script of the challenge remained unchanged in the second part, while Tsitsipas's confidence faltered more and more in the presence of a very solid rival in all areas of the field.
What happened at 2-2 and 2-4 is emblematic: in both circumstances Stefanos went up 40-0, but the Belgrade's unique ability to always make his opponent play one more ball propitiated a row of four consecutive games. Three aces and a winning serve in the eighth game sent Djokovic two sets ahead.
In the third, balance reigned supreme until 4-4, when the 17-time Grand Slam champion used his drop shot to perfection to guarantee himself a chance to break. At the end of a daring exchange, embellished by Tsitsi's spectacular tweener, Nole made no discounts and gave herself the chance to serve to access the final.
The number 5 of seeding had the great merit of not giving up, even when he was faced with a match point in response. The Hellenic made good use of his cross backhand to send Djokovic out of position, then piercing him with the inside-out right or on the break.
Inertia unexpectedly took the direction of the Greek, who sealed a streak of three games in a row useful for prolonging the dispute. After a break exchange at the start of the fourth set, it was Tsitsipas who mocked Djokovic in a fraction during which the number 1 ATP had converted only one break point out of eleven available.
At 4-5 40-15, Novak's mechanisms were jammed once again, also thanks to a series of tactical choices that can be reviewed to say the least. A reckless drop shot attempt by Djokovic struggled to reach the net, sending the match to the fifth and generating the roar of a thousand cold fans on Philippe Chatrier.
The game took on the contours of an exciting and finally uncertain battle, which, however, would have deserved a better epilogue. In the moment of sinking the blow, Stefanos was the victim of a sudden physical decline that justified the break collected in the third game.
Shaking off the tension and aware of the difficulties of his opponent, Nole made a big voice picking up the pace even in response to the serve. Djokovic quickly hoisted himself up to 5-1 and with three straight winning answers he put his 37th victory in the farmhouse in 2020.
Honor to Tsitsipas, protagonist of a good reaction of character to his second semifinal in a Major (at the Australian Open 2019 he was overwhelmed by Nadal). The tennis player from Athens will be able to celebrate his return to the Top 5 on Monday.