Paris, June 7 (US): Novak Djokovic felt, in his words, “too slow, too slow” nearly two full sets against Karen Khachanov in the quarter-finals of the French Open on Tuesday.
Afterwards, Djokovic called it his worst period in the tournament, according to a fair assessment. He dropped the opening set, something he hasn’t done at Roland Garros this year. When the second went to a tiebreaker on Court Philippe Chatrier, he knew it was necessary to step up his game and give his best.
Striving for perfection is one thing. It’s quite another matter to give. As if just wanting it to, doing it, Djokovic has done what he’s done before at key moments over the years on his way to 22 Grand Slam titles, according to the Associated Press (AP).
He managed to pick the right shot every time, managed to place each ball precisely where he wanted it, and Djokovic delivered a tiebreaker shutout to signal himself what would become a 4-6, 7-6(0), 6-2, 6-4 victory over 11th seed Khachanov.
Djokovic, who will meet top seed Carlos Alcaraz in the much-anticipated semi-final Friday, found one word to describe that part of the match: “amazing.”
Alcaraz beat Djokovic on clay at the Madrid Masters last year in their only previous meeting, and the 20-year-old Spaniard upset fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-2, 6-1, 7-6(5) on Tuesday night. .
“Since the draw was drawn, everyone was expecting that match to be in the semi-finals against Novak. Me too. I really want to play that match,” Alcaraz said. “Since last year, I really wanted to play against Novak again.”
No. 2 seed Aryna Sabalenka and unseeded Karolina Moshova reached the women’s semifinals with victory earlier in the day. Sabalenka, the defending Australian Open champion, beat Elina Svitolina 6-4, 6-4, then appeared at a news conference for the first time in about a week. Muchova defeated 2021 runner-up Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 7-5, 6-2.