herald

Saturday 10 December 2016

Novak into semi-finals

NOVAK DJOKOVIC handed nine-times champion Rafa Nadal his second defeat in 11 years at Roland Garros to reach the semi-finals of the French Open with a devastating and thoroughly one-sided 7-5 6-3 6-1 win yesterday.

Nadal's only previous defeat came in 2009 when the Mallorcan was knocked out in the fourth round by Swede Robin Soderling.

"He is still a champion," said Djokovic, who celebrated calmly.

"The tactic was to be aggressive and focused on every point, but it is not easy to do when you play against Rafa here."

Nadal, who was only seeded sixth after a slow start to the season, said: "I'm going to come back next year and I am going to try to be competitive, to try to be better prepared than this year."

While the scoreline was crushing, the result was not the seismic shock that it was six years ago when Nadal lost to Soderling.

TENNIS

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