Sun, 25 Jul 2021

ATP roundup: Novak Djokovic rallies to win French Open

Field Level Media
14 Jun 2021, 05:05 GMT+10

Top-ranked Novak Djokovic rallied after losing the first two sets to beat No. 5 Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece 6-7 (6), 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 on Sunday for his second French Open men's singles title.

Djokovic withstood 14 aces and converted five of his 16 break opportunities to win the marathon match.Djokovic, 34, came from a set down to beat 13-time champion Rafael Nadal in a semifinal match on Friday to reach the final. He also had to rally from two sets down to beat Italian Lorenzo Musetti in the fourth round.

"I think nine hours of tennis in less than 48 hours against two grand champions ... it was not easy for me, both physically and mentally," Djokovic said. "It was very, very difficult for me."

This marks the sixth time in his career that Djokovic has overcame a two-set deficit to win a match and the first time he's done it in a Grand Slam final.

He's the fifth player in the Open Era to win the French Open title after trailing by two sets, and the first since Argentina's Gaston Gaudio in 2004. The feat has only happened once at another Grand Slam final, with Austrian Dominic Thiem rallying to win last year's U.S. Open.

Djokovic, who won his previous title at Roland Garros in 2016, is now within one of the Grand Slam singles title record of 20 shared by Nadal and Roger Federer.

The Serbian became the first player in the Open Era to win all four Grand Slams twice.

Along with the Australian Open title, Djokovic is halfway to a calendar year Grand Slam.

Meanwhile, the 22-year-old Tsitsipas was making his first appearance in a Grand Slam final. The seven-time ATP title winner was looking to become the first Greek to win a Grand Slam final.

"I'd like to thank the Greek fans, and my team, who are constantly behind me, for my dreams. This is a long journey," Tsitsipas said. "It's a difficult journey and it takes a lot of amount of work every single day."

Tsitsipas was down 6-5 in the first set, but broke Djokovic to tie it up. He also faced set point at 5-6 in the first set tiebreak before rallying.

Tsitsipas then breezed through the second set, but gave up the lead to Djokovic when he was broken in the fourth game of the third set.

After that, Djokovic was more composed and won the third and fourth sets without facing a single break point from his younger opponent.

Djokovic improves to 6-2 for his career against Tsitsipas, including a 4-0 record on clay.

"I would say I'm inspired by the things he has achieved so far and I hope one day, we can maybe do half of what he has done so far," Tsitsipas said.

Mercedes Cup

Croatia's Marin Cilic captured his 19th ATP Tour title with a 7-6 (2), 6-3 win over third-seeded Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime in the final of the Mercedes Cup at Stuttgart, Germany.

Cilic, 32, won his first title since 2018 after recording seven aces to win the match in one hour and 50 minutes.

The loss dropped Auger-Aliassime to 0-8 in ATP Tour finals. He also finished as a runner-up at the Murray River Open in February.

--Field Level Media

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