Rafael Nadal fell to Novak Djokovic at Roland-Garros, his 35-match winning snapped by World No.1 in stunning fashion, 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(4), 6-2, on Friday night on Court Philippe-Chatrier.
It was a stinging defeat for Nadal, who had hoped to stretch his run of dominance in Paris, where he was bidding for a 14th title.
Afterwards he told reporters that he didn’t take his chances—simple as that.
“I tried to give my best,” Nadal said. “Probably was not my best day out there. Even if I fighted, that I put a lot of effort, I mean, the position on the shots haven’t been that effective tonight. Against a player like him that takes the ball early, you are not able to take him out of his positions, then is very difficult, no?”
Despite his struggles Nadal still found himself with a set point in the third set, and he also had chances in the third set tiebreaker. This is where Djokovic turned the tide.
— Roland-Garros (@rolandgarros) June 11, 2021
“Even like this, I had the big chance with set point, 6-5, second serve,” he said. “That’s it. Anything could happen in that moment. Then I make a double-fault, easy volley in the tiebreak.”
Nadal drops to 28-30 against his greatest rival, and 19-8 on clay against him.
“These kind of mistakes can happen,” he said. “But if you want to win, you can’t make these mistakes. So that’s it. Well done for him. Have been a good fight out there. I try my best, and today was not my day.” Nadal, who drops to 105-3 lifetime in Paris, only won 40 percent of his second-serve points against the pinpoint returning of Djokovic.
Djokovic hit 50 winners against 37 unforced errors; Nadal hit 48 winners and 55 unforced errors.