Djokovic books Nadal showdown

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Djokovic books Nadal showdown

Novak Djokovic set up a mouth-watering French Open semi-final clash with Rafael Nadal after he beat Matteo Berrettini 6-3 6-2 6-7 7-5 in their last-eight encounter in Paris.

The final evening session of the clay court Grand Slam had spectators for the first time with 5,000 fans able to watch the last-eight encounter at Roland Garros – but with a curfew set for 11pm CET.

There were very unusual scenes as the players left the court with fans not apparently respecting the curfew in place for them to leave.

But after Berrettini won a third set tie-break to take the match into a fourth set, fans did not heed the instructions to leave the stadium to be in accordance with the curfew in place as a condition of their attendance.

As such, the players then left the court to attempt to ensure that the fans would promptly exit Court Philippe Chatrier. The stands were eventually cleared and play was able to resume.

When play did get back underway, a very emotional Djokovic – who kicked an advertising hoarding in frustration and let out several roars – closed out the win.

An amusing moment early on saw the match halted amid a chorus of boos from other fans when a group of spectators strolled in very late with their shopping in tow to delay proceedings.

World number one Djokovic, the 2016 champion, and an 18-time Grand Slam title winner, struggled to find the funny side as he was preparing to serve while trying to make his mark on the opening set.

The other spectators inside Court Philippe Chatrier let their feelings known with loud booing as the fans eventually settled down and Djokovic was finally able to serve.

Victory for Djokovic sees him through to the semi-finals for the 11th time at Roland Garros and two wins away from becoming only the third man in history to win all four Grand Slams on two occasions.

Earlier, third seed and 13-time champion at Roland Garros, Rafael Nadal, reeled off nine games in succession to overcome Diego Schwartzman in quite brilliant fashion on Court Philippe Chatrier.

A Nadal v Djokovic clash in the last four will be an encounter fans will love and it is a repeat of last year’s final in the postponed autumnal edition.

The three most successful players in the history of the men’s game have won 17 of the last 20 Grand Slam titles between them.