French Open: Novak Djokovic battles past Pablo Carreno Busta
Djokovic battled past Carreno Busta to make the semi-finals TPN

Novak Djokovic is into the semi-finals after beating the Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta in four tight sets. The last time these two players met was not that long ago in the fourth round of the US Open. That was when Djokovic was defaulted for hitting a line judge with a ball.

A rough start for the world number one :

There was a sense of concern for the Belgrade native as at the beginning of the match we could see he was having some discomfort with his wrist and shoulder. We even saw him with Kinesiology tape on his neck.

He managed to hold his first service game at love and we didn't see a breakpoint until 2-2 when the Spaniard set up two with a forehand winner up the line. He broke to take a 3-2 lead as the Serb would send a ball into the net.

Carreno Busta would hold and then face breakpoints at 4-3 from the world number one to break back. His serve would let him down at the worse possible time as he would double fault to put the set back on serve at 4-4.

Pablo Carreno Busta putting pressure early on Djokovic Clive Brunskill
Pablo Carreno Busta putting pressure early on Djokovic (Photo: Clive Brunskill)

The world number 18 had more breakpoints in the next game and eventually broke to take a 5-4 lead to have a chance to serve for the first set when Djokovic sent a forehand long. He would serve it out to take the first set 6-4 winning set point with a backhand return winner.

The world number would call for the trainer before the second set would begin who would work on his shoulder and neck and it looked like he might have to retire.

The Barcelona resident would have the first break chances of the second set but the Serb saved both of them to hold to make it 2-1. Once again at the changeover, he would call a medical timeout to have more work done.

Despite the injury issues he ended up getting two breakpoints of his own and broke the Spaniard with a sensational winner after a long rally to take a 3-1 lead. The world-number 18 had more chances to break to get back into the match but Djokovic was doing a good job of saving them forcing the errors from his Spanish opponent.

At 5-2 the world number one had three set points and converted on the first one when the Spaniard sent a forehand into the net to even the sets at one apiece.

Djokovic fighting back to a two sets to one lead TPN
Djokovic fighting back to a two sets to one lead TPN

The change in momentum : 

In the first game of the third set, Carreno Busta had another breakpoint but the Serb would save it with a huge forehand winner. He would hold serve and break the Spaniard in the next game, winning the breakpoint with a drop shot to take a 2-0 lead.

He held serve to make it 3-0 aginst the world-number 18. The Spaniard once again had break points to go back and serve and converted with a stunning forehand winner of his own. At 3-3 he had more chances to break to take a lead but Djokovic was at his best saving each other with his powerful groundstrokes.

He once again held serve and this time turned the tables on the Gijon native getting a break chance of his own. He broke to take a 5-3 lead when the Spaniard would make another unforced error and had a chance to serve out the third set.

He did just that serving out the set and winning set point with an ace down the middle to take a two sets to one lead and was one set away from the semi-finals.

Closing it out :

Both players would hold their service game and at 1-1 Djokovic had four chances to get the early lead but it was the Spanish world number 18 turn to come up big and save them. At 2-2 the Serb had another chance to break but Carreno Busta would save it with a big serve.

Both players would hold serve again and at 3-3 the Belgrade native had two more breakpoints and broke to take a 4-3 lead when the world number 18 missed a volley at the net. He had chances to break back in the next game but the world number one was up to the task of saving them and held serve to take a 5-3 lead. 

The Spaniard would hold serve and at 5-4 the world number one would serve it out winning match point with a cross-court winner. He will next face Stefanos Tsitsipas in the semi-finals who beat Russian Andrey Rublev earlier in the day.

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