World number one Novak Djokovic, the 2016 champion at Roland Garros, reached his fifth final in Paris, defeating fifth seed Tsitsipas 6-3, 6-2, 5-7, 4-6, 6-1.
World number one Novak Djokovic has outlasted big-hitting Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3 6-2 5-7 4-6 6-1 in an enthralling contest to advance to the final of the French Open.
The Serb will meet 12-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal, seeded second, in another mouth-watering clash on Sunday with the Spaniard also bidding to equal Roger Federer's record men's haul of 20 Grand Slam singles titles.
"Here, he (Nadal) is the favourite, it's his home here. With all the titles he's won ... but in 2015 I won here against him in the quarter-finals," Djokovic said in his on-court interview.
"I hope I can recuperate, I need my best tennis. It's maybe the biggest challenge in our sport to play Nadal at Roland Garros. I look forward to it, I'm happy to be here and motivated to win."
Djokovic-Nadal, 29-26— José Morgado (@josemorgado) October 9, 2020
7-17 on clay
6-9 on Grand Slams
1-4 at #RolandGarros
1-0 in 2020
Djokovic won 14 of the last 18 matches.
Neck and neck
Djokovic, whose 2016 Roland Garros triumph features among his 17 major titles, had a match point in the third set but saw the 22-year-old Tsitsipas fight back spectacularly to level the match at two sets apiece.
Tsitsipas, seeded fifth, ran out of steam in the deciding set but saved another match point before the 33-year-old sealed the win with a crushing service return in three hours and 54 minutes on Court Philippe Chatrier.
"We have to congratulate Stefanos for this great battle. In the end he was tired obviously, it was not easy after four hours," Djokovic said. "He's a very good player and I wish him well for his career.
"I was calm on the surface but inside it was something totally different. I thought that after losing the third set, and the fourth, I was still solid."
Nadal, the 12-time champion, defeated Diego Schwartzman 6-3, 6-3, 7-6 (7/0) to make a 13th final at the tournament.
Sunday should be electric, when Djokovic and Nadal face off in the French Open final @rolandgarros. When Federer clocked 20 grand slams, I thought he had it sealed, as the #GOAT. But Novak and Rafa have come blazing back. They're making Roger drive unsteadily @atptour 😊— John Vianney Nsimbe (@JohnVianneyNsim) October 9, 2020
On Sunday, Djokovic could win an 18th major and become the first man in half a century to win all four Slams twice.
Nadal, the world number two, can equal Roger Federer's all-time record of 20 Grand Slam title wins.
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