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Djokovic Beats Khachanov for 12th Roland Garros Semifinal

Photo credit: Roland Garros Facebook

First-set turbulence wasn’t stalling a high-flying Novak Djokovic today.

Down a set, Djokovic brushed clumped clay free from the bottom of his Asics shoes, dug in closer to the baseline and stormed back with belief to thwart the threat of explosive Karen Khachanov.

Booming an ace down the middle, Djokovic sealed a 4-6, 7-6(0), 6-2, 6-4 triumph to reach the Roland Garros semifinals for the 12th time.

Playing with greater precision as the match progressed, Djokovic streaked through eight straight points to sew up his 90th Roland Garros victory, improving to 90-16 in Paris.

It is Djokovic’s 45th career Grand Slam semifinal, second only to rival Roger Federer’s Open Era record of 46 major semifinals.

Credit Khachanov from bringing more energy and firepower at the outset.

Two-time champion Djokovic proclaimed before the tournament he liked chances against any opponent on any surface in best-of-five set matches. Given Djokovic’s dominant 5-set record you can understand his confidence.

Best-of-five gives Djokovic time to adjust and apply his versatility as he did today, cutting down his unforced errors and minimizing the moon ball forays from the first set with assertive deep drives to forcing the 6’6″ Khachanov to hit on the move.

Smoother movement around the court combined with some deft down the line drives fueled Djokovic to his ninth win in 10 meetings vs. Khachanov.

It’s the third straight major semifinal for the Australian Open and Wimbledon champion, who denied Khachanov his third consecutive Grand Slam semifinal.

Continuing his historic flight toward a men’s record 23rd Grand Slam title, Djokovic will face either world No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz or fifth-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas for a spot in Sunday’s final.

If Tsitsipas prevails, he will face Djokovic in a rematch of the 2021 Roland Garros final that saw the Serbian roar back from a two-set deficit to capture his second French Open championship.

In their lone prior meeting at the 2022 Madrid, Alcaraz masterfully mixed forehand rockets with feather duster droppers, out-dueling then world No. 1 Djokovic 6-7(5), 7-5, 7-6(5) rising to his maiden Mutua Madrid Open final in a dizzying three hour, 35-minute classic match.

The 19-year-old Alcaraz made history as the first man to conquer king of clay Rafael Nadal and 20-time Grand Slam champion Djokovic in succession at a clay-court tournament.​ ​