French Open 2021: Novak Djokovic tops Stefanos Tsitsipas to come within touching distance of Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer
After his semi-final against Nadal, that lasted more than four hours on Friday night, Djokovic looked diminished and depleted at the outset on Sunday. By the end, he was at his imperious best.
French Open 2021: Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal set landmarks; Roger Federer, Iga Swiatek, Sofia Kenin win
While World No 1 Novak Djokovic is in the last 16 for the 12th successive year, defending champion Nadal reached the fourth round for a record 16th time.
Someone is going to have to play the match of his life at this year's French Open to beat Rafael Nadal.
Monte Carlo Masters: Rafael Nadal 'not worried' about COVID-19 infection after Daniil Medvedev practice
Nadal was not considered a close contact of Medvedev, and therefore not required to quarantine, allowing him to pursue a 12th Monte Carlo title.
Rafa Nadal is aiming for a 12th Masters title in the principality ahead of his pursuit of a 14th French Open success and a record 21st Grand Slam.
"It's been a long and tough road for me," said Federer, who hasn't played a match since a semis defeat to Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open in January 2020, 405 days ago.
Federer hasn't played a match since his semis loss to Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open in January 2020 and joked with the umpire about the rules of the game at the start of his game against Dan Evans at Doha.
Djokovic has been the top-ranked player at the end of a season five times. Should he beat Borna Coric, he will equal the achievement of his childhood idol, Pete Sampras.
French Open 2020: Novak Djokovic breezes into quarters; Stefanos Tsitsipas overcomes eye problem to win
"I had a problem with my eye so that's why I had to call the doctor. It happened in my earlier matches too. It's still red and irritated," Tsitsipas explained.
Djokovic was known in the past for quitting matches mid-way due to ailments, including multiple withdrawals from Grand Slam matches.
Novak Djokovic's flamboyant on-court demeanour may be occasionally unacceptable but it is an integral part of his success, the world number one said.