When you reach 44 Major semi-finals, it’s hard to remember them all, especially after stretching them to almost 16 years! Novak Djokovic secured his 44th Major semi-final after an impressive 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 triumph over Andrey Rublev at the Australian Open.
It was another flawless performance from the Serbian at Rod Laver Arena, doing everything right and leaving the opposition far behind. Speaking to Jim Courier after the match, Novak tried to recall his first Major semifinal. He mentioned the 2007 US Open, even though it actually came three months earlier in Paris!
Djokovic played his first Major semifinal at Roland Garros a few weeks after turning 20. Novak faced Rafael Nadal for the second straight year in Paris and gave it his all in a 7-5, 6-4, 6-2 loss. after two hours and 28 minutes.
Nadal saved four out of six break points and stole Djokovic’s serve six times from nine opportunities to come out on top. Novak sprayed 40 unforced errors and failed to overpower Rafa in sets one and two.
Novak Djokovic played his first Major semi-final at Roland Garros 2007.
The Serbian followed the defending champion’s pace in the shortest events, and Nadal created his advantage in the more advanced ones.
Novak produced a couple of good holds in the early stages of the encounter before Rafa fired a forehand down the line for a 2-2 winner to earn his first break. The Spaniard grabbed another break at 4-2 to extend the lead and serve for the opener.
Nadal hit a double fault in game eight to drop serve and bring his rival back to 3-5. Novak saved two set points on serve in game nine and got his second consecutive break in the next to lock the score at 5-5 and gain a boost.
Nadal stayed focused and landed a forehand on the line winner in game 11 for his third break. The Spaniard made no mistakes while serving for the set for the third time, holding at 15 with a 7-5 forehand winner in over an hour.
Djokovic claimed the first seven points of the second set to hold to love and three break chances in game two. However, Nadal took five straight points to bring it home and avoid an early setback. Novak saved a break point in game three to stay competitive before Rafa stroked a forehand down the line winner at 3-3 to build the advantage.
Nadal saved a break point at 5-4 with an ace and closed out the set for a massive lead. Rafa broke at 15 at the start of the third set and widened the gap with a forehand crosscourt winner at 2-0. The Spaniard held in game four with a forehand winner and fired a huge winner at 4-1 to move closer to the finish line.
The defending champion fired a 5-2 forehand winner to seal the deal and defeat Djokovic in the Serb’s first Major semi-final.