Two weeks ago, Novak Djokovic and Stefanos Tsitsipas battled in the Roland Garros final. It was the sixth final in Paris for Djokovic, who ousted the king of clay Rafael Nadal in the semis to gain a massive boost ahead of the title clash. Despite that, the first-time Major finalist Tsitsipas gave his best in the opening two sets to forge a 7-6, 6-2 advantage and move a set away from tennis glory. Like many times before, Novak started all over from the third set and left the youngster far behind in a 6-7, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 triumph in four hours and 11 minutes. Thus, Novak became the sixth player in the Open era who came from two sets to love down in a Major final and secured the 19th Major title, just one short of Federer and Nadal. Praising the Serb, Todd Woodbridge said it was a masterclass performance in the last three sets, especially when we know that he did the same against Lorenzo Musetti in the fourth round.
Novak became the first player in the Open era with two titles at all four Majors, never losing ground in the final and raising his level to leave Stefanos behind. Djokovic lost serve thrice in the opening two sets before shifting into a higher gear, dominating on both serve and return in the remaining three to extend his dominance at Majors in the past ten years. Tsitsipas saved two break points in the opening game and earned a set point in the tenth game that Djokovic dismissed. They traded breaks in games 11 and 12, and Novak returned from 5-2 down in the breaker to earn a set point. Stefanos saved it with a forehand down the line winner and grabbed the crucial mini-break at 7-6 to wrap up the opening set in just under 70 minutes. Carried by this boost, the Greek was the only player on the court in set number two, penetrating Djokovic’s defense and taming his strokes nicely to forge the advantage on both serve and return.
Todd Woodbridge praised Novak Djokovic’s mental strength at Roland Garros.
Stefanos lost five points behind the initial shot and clinched two breaks for a massive two sets to love lead. Like nothing happened, Novak regained his strokes and started all over in the third, serving well and keeping the pressure on the other side of the net. The Serb seized the fifth break chance in the fourth game and defended the advantage to take the set 6-3. Hitting the zone, Djokovic was even more dominant in the fourth, firing 14 winners and losing three points behind the initial shot. Stefanos couldn’t follow that pace and suffered breaks in games one and three that Djokovic converted into 6-2.
The Greek wasted a couple of game points at 1-1, and he couldn’t afford that, as Novak broke him to open the gap. Stefanos faced troubles again at 2-4, erasing two break chances and bringing the game home to remain within one break deficit. Djokovic held at love in the eighth game to stay ahead, losing 14 points in his games from set number three and taking another step towards the triumph. Tsitsipas held after deuce in the ninth game to extend the duel before Novak brought the victory home on his serve to start a massive celebration.
“The Golden Slam is very much on the cards; there is no doubt about that. What Novak managed to produce in Paris, in two comebacks from two sets to love down, is some of the best mental stuff you’ll ever see. Now, he does get a bit extreme at times on the court, but he’s an athlete who can focus on what he needs to do to get the result done. Coming from two sets to love down against Stefanos Tsitsipas was a fantastic effort. And he’s just freshening up; he is down in Mallorca on grass courts to get ready for Wimbledon. He most definitely goes as a heavy favorite at Wimbledon,” Todd Woodbridge said.