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‘We’ve paid, we’ll stay’: Bizarre scenes as quarter-final halted before Djokovic win

Most did not, but at just after 11.15 p.m. the players had resumed their match. Djokovic won 6-3, 6-2, 6-7 (7-5), 7-5 and will now face Rafael Nadal in a blockbuster semi-final.

The 34-year-old bellowed a series of frightening roars after completing a victory that at one stage looked like a formality but became increasingly fraught as Berrettini threw the kitchen sink at the Serb, who becomes only the second man to reach 40 grand slam semi-finals after Roger Federer.

An announcement made to fans at Roland Garros.

An announcement made to fans at Roland Garros.Credit:Getty

It was a manic ending and showed exactly how much Djokovic wants a second French Open title, having claimed his first in 2016 to complete his career slam.

Since then Nadal has been unbeatable on the Parisian dirt, extending his record total to 13 titles and counting, the last coming last October when he thrashed Djokovic in the final.

Djokovic said booking another clash with Nadal had not been behind his extraordinary reaction at the end.

“This match had it all: falls, crowd, break,” he said. “It was a lot of intensity. I just felt under tension the entire time and missed some chances to end it in three.

“It was just super, super stressful to constantly be under pressure… the reaction in the end was just me liberating that tension that was building up for the entire match.”

Earlier, Nadal dropped a French Open set for the first time in two years but roared back to beat 10th seed Diego Schwartzman 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-0.

Nadal had beaten Schwartzman twice before at Roland Garros, but he seemed to have met his match as the Argentine played with confidence, dominating the longer rallies and for a brief moment it seemed he had exposed a chink in the Spaniard’s armour.

Dominic Thiem was the last player to take a set off Nadal in the 2019 final but Schwartzman ended the his run of 36 consecutive sets.

“Losing sets is something I accepted during my tennis career. The thing that matters is how you recover from a set lost,” Nadal, who is chasing a record-extending 21st grand slam title, said.

King of clay Rafael Nadal.

King of clay Rafael Nadal.Credit:Getty

Nadal wrapped up the final set in 26 minutes to move into his 14th semi-final on the Paris clay.

In the women’s draw, there will be four first-time semi-finalists for just the second time in the professional era. It also happened at the 1978 Australian Open.

When one last forehand from defending champion Iga Swiatek landed wide Maria Sakkari crouched on Court Philippe Chatrier and bowed her head, relishing the moment.

Sakkari is still two wins away from lifting the trophy, but Wednesday’s victory means she’s already in new territory — just like the other three women left in the draw.

Sakkari ended Swiatek’s 11-match and 22-set winning streaks at Roland Garros by beating her 6-4, 6-4 Wednesday to guarantee that there will be a first-time grand slam champion when the tournament ends.

On Friday (AEST), the 17th-seeded Sakkari plays unseeded Barbora Krejcikova in the semi-finals, after No. 31 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova faces unseeded Tamara Zidansek from 11pm Thursday (AEST).

“We are four very good players,” Sakkari said. “Players that can win a title, for sure.”

Krejcikova advanced by eliminating 17-year-old Coco Gauff 7-6 (8-6), 6-3.

AP, Reuters

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