Roger Federer: I watched Rafael Nadal against Novak Djokovic before bed.

Roger Federer, the 2009 Roland Garros winner, had to skip this year’s edition, still recovering from a knee injury. Roger watched some action from Paris, including the quarter-final battle between two of his greatest rivals, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.

Novak and Rafa battled for four hours 12 minutes and until 1:15 AM. Roger did not watch the entire clash, but continued to do so until he fell asleep. The match was 59, and Rafa took a 6-2, 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 victory to oust Novak and stay on the title track.

Unlike last year’s semi-finals, Nadal had an edge over Djokovic, playing well in the crucial moments and delivering the right shots when it was most important to emerge at the top. Rafa had to dig deep to beat Novak for the 20th time on clay, keeping the second serve under control and hitting 57 wins and 43 unforced errors.

Nadal usually takes the first hit in a rally, spreading Djokovic over the baseline and throwing everything he has in his arsenal at him. The Spaniard saved eight out of 12 break points and turned 43% of replay points into seven breaks from 17, enough to get him home.

Novak had a massive opportunity to force the decider, and played well in the early stages of the fourth set, winning 5-2. He dropped two serve points in the ninth game and lost ground in the tiebreak to end his campaign in the quarter-finals and forfeit the ATP throne.

Nadal had a better start in three out of four sets, gained momentum early on and did everything right on the court to take down his most important opponent. The Spaniard broke twice in the opening match and grabbed it 6-2 in 50 minutes.

Rafael Nadal beat Novak Djokovic in four sets at Roland Garros.

The second set fell into the wire, lasted nearly an hour and a half and saw a massive comeback. Djokovic trailed 3-0 before losing six of his next seven matches 6-4 and strengthening tremendously.

Nadal made a fresh start in the third set and claimed the score 6-2 to conserve energy before the fourth set. Novak pulled off an impressive four passes and took an early break to open the 5-2 gap, looking good to force the decider. The Serbian missed two set points on 5-3 serve and lost ground.

Rafa broke the ball with a winning forehand in cross areas, and both served well in the remaining three games to enter the tiebreaker. Nadal gained a 6-1 advantage and grabbed his fourth game point at 6-4 with a backhand kick into the winner’s streak.

“I didn’t watch the final, I watched Nadal’s quarter-final against Djokovic a little bit before I fell asleep,” Roger Federer said.

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