Top seed Novak Djokovic extended his winning run to 27 matches with victory over Rafael Nadal in the quarter-final of the French Open.
The Serb hit 45 winners, 30 unforced and broke serve seven times to clinch a 7-5 6-3 6-1 victory and end the Spaniard’s 39-match winning run at the Roland Garros, through to the semifinals.
Djokovic will face third seed Andy Murray in the last four after the Briton accounted for another Spaniard David Ferrer, 7-6 6-2 5-7 6-1.
The world No. 1’s win was his first over Nadal since the 2012 Australian Open, enough to see him close gap to 21-23 in their head-to-head. He however trails 1-6 in his record against the nine-time champion at the dirt Grand Slam.
“You prepare for this match in the best possible way tactically, mentally, and to get out there and execute your plan. Obviously it’s easier said than done when you’re on the court with him and on the court that he has only lost once in his entire career,” Djokovic is quoted as saying by rolandgarros.com.
“But I managed to do that. Had a very strong start. Except, the second part of the first set and first part of the second, the entire match went really well for me. It’s definitely a big win, a match that I will remember for a long time.”
The much anticipated last 8 clash between both 2014 finalists coincided with Nadal’s birthday, but Djokovic offered the Marjocan few course for celebration, limiting him to three forehand winners.
The 28-year-old is bidding to win the French Open for a first time and complete a career Grand Slam. He is also in line to claim a the first two Majors of the year following his triumph at the Australian Open.
There will not be a chance for an unprecedented tenth victory in Paris for Nadal, who has now suffered just her second defeat at the French Open (the other against Robin Soderling) and is set to move down to tenth in the rankings for the first time since April 2005.
Nadal could fall further to eleventh when the rankings are released on Monday, should Jo-Wilfried Tsonga beat Stan Wawrinka and move into the final.
Djokovic has not been beaten since losing to Roger Federer in Dubai in February, including title wins in Indian Wells, Miami, Monte Carlo and Rome.