Wolrd no.1 Novak Djokovic, albeit limited by some physical problems, reached his tenth semifinal at the Roland Garros 2020 by bending the resistance of Pablo Carreno-Busta with the result of 4-6 6-2 6-3 6-4 in three hours and ten minutes of high level.
The Serb has thus risen to 73 wins in Paris, beating two champions like Chris Evert and Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario in the all-time ranking. Only Steffi Graf and obviously Rafael Nadal remain ahead of him. For Nole this is also the 36th victory of the season, testifying to a Djokovic who this year was beaten only by himself.
Djokovic hits his tenth semifinal in Paris
From the start of the match, it was clear that Novak was not in the best of condition. The seeded number 1 complained of neck discomfort, very similar to that accused at the US Open a couple of years ago, and numbness in his left arm, so much so that he required the intervention of the physiotherapist several times.
The first set was one of the worst played by Nole in the whole of 2020, studded with gratuitous errors and extended up to the tenth game due to the lack of cynicism of the Spaniard. Carreno wasted the break advantage with an unfortunate double fault, but the Serbian returned the favor in the next game by losing the joke in a worrying way.
The 17-time Grand Slam champion sent negative signals towards his corner, but progressively reduced the number of free mistakes from the start of the second set. Djokovic committed only seven unforced in the whole run, proving that he has what it takes to win even without being 100%.
Carreno limited himself to playing his game without excessive pretensions, aware of having to hope for a subdued Nole in order to achieve the feat. A 70% Djokovic was enough to take home the second and third sets with authority, while the Iberian concentrated all his remaining energies in the fourth.
The seeding number 17 bravely canceled four break points in the third game and one in the fifth, but at 3-3 he was forced to capitulate in the face of his opponent's change of gear. The 2016 Roland Garros champion consolidated his advantage not without difficulty (three balls of the counterbreak saved in the eighth game), before letting himself go to a liberating scream that chased away the enormous fright he had experienced today.
Djokovic, whose last defeat with a Top 20 dates back to last year's semifinal right here in Paris (when lost to Thiem), will try to regain his best form ahead of Friday's semifinal against Stefanos Tsitsipas. The Greek, who had risked a lot on his debut against Jaume Munar, liquidated 7-5 6-2 6-3 Andrey Rublev offering a spectacular and varied tennis, which allowed him to hit his second semifinal in a Major (after the Australian Open 2019) and to certify his return to the Top 5.