Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal meet for the 58th time on Friday in the semi-finals of the French Open.
Here is a look at six of their best Grand Slam matches:
2012 Australian Open Final- (Djokovic 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-7 (5/7), 7-5)
In the longest-ever Grand Slam final at five hours and 53 minutes, Djokovic came back from a 4-2 delay in the fifth set. It was the third consecutive Grand Slam final that Djokovic and Nadal had played, and saw the Serb extend his winning streak over Nadal to seven consecutive matches.
Rod Laver (centre) presents the cups to Novak Djokovic (left) and Rafael Nadal after the men’s singles final at the Australian Open in Melbourne on January 30, 2012. – Reuters
“I think it comes out on top because the fact that we played almost six hours is unbelievable,” Djokovic said when asked if it was his best match ever.
“Physically, it was the hardest match I’ve ever played,” Nadal added, exhausted.
Roland Garros 2015 quarter-final – Djokovic (7-5, 6-3, 6-1)
Djokovic became only the second man after Robin Soderling in 2009 to defeat Nadal on the red clay of Roland Garros as he kept alive his hopes of completing his Grand Slam career.
Djokovic was scheduled to lose the final to Stan Wawrinka, but would win his first title at Roland Garros 12 months later by defeating Andy Murray in the final.
“It’s definitely a big win, a match I will remember for a long time,” Djokovic said.
“He was better than me. That’s it. It’s very simple,” said Nadal, who was celebrating his 29th birthday.
2018 Wimbledon semi-finals – Djokovic (6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (11/9), 3-6, 10-8)
A few weeks before Wimbledon, Djokovic suffered a surprise quarter-final exit at the French Open at the hands of world number 72 Marco Cecchinato of Italy, and even threatened to skip the grasscourt Grand Slam.
The semi-final match was another classic as Djokovic saved five break points in the fifth set before winning after five hours and 15 minutes.
“One of the longest matches of my career,” Djokovic said.
“I don’t have much inside of me. I did my best,” Nadal said.
2012 Roland Garros Final – Nadal (6-4, 6-3, 2-6, 7-5)
In the two-day final due to several rain delays, Nadal hit 34 winners for 29 non-compulsive fouls, leading two sets and resting before the Serbian took eight straight games and led 2-1 with a break in the third set. Set on Monday.
Rafael Nadal (right) and Novak Djokovic (left) hold the trophy after the men’s final at the French Open, June 11, 2012. Nadal surpassed Bjorn Borg as the record holder for French Open titles. – AP
When play resumed, Nadal broke and went on to seal the win in three hours and 49 minutes to claim his seventh title in Paris.
“It is a great honor for me and the most important tournament, the greatest in my opinion. This is an unforgettable moment,” Nadal said.
Djokovic added: “The playing conditions were not good. But it’s not anyone’s fault, and it’s not the reason I lost today.”
2013 Roland Garros semi-finals – Nadal (6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 6-7 (3/7), 9-7)
Djokovic was trying to become the eighth man to complete his career at a Grand Slam while Nadal was vying for his eighth title in Paris. Djokovic had defeated the Spaniard earlier this season on clay in Monte Carlo, ending Nadal’s streak of 46 consecutive matches.
In the Roland Garros final, Nadal led 6-5 in the fourth set and two points from the victory but Djokovic responded and then advanced 4-2 in the final set before Nadal clinched the victory after four hours and 37 minutes.
“I want to congratulate Novak, he is a great champion and he will win here at Roland Garros one day, I’m sure,” Nadal said.
World number one Djokovic added: “It was an incredible match but all I feel now is disappointment. I congratulate him, and that’s why he’s a champion.”
2014 Roland Garros Final – Nadal (3-6, 7-5, 6-2, 6-4)
Nadal again prevented Djokovic from completing his Grand Slam career as he became the first player to win nine titles in a single major tournament. It was also his 14th slam title.
Despite taking the first set, the final match ended with Annin for Djokovic who double-faulted on the championship point.
Djokovic admitted that Nadal was probably the freshest player as the final progressed in the sweltering 30-degree heat.
“For me the most important tournament and the greatest in my opinion,” Nadal said.
“I wasn’t at the level I was when I beat him in Rome last month,” Djokovic said. “It takes you out. Rafa was the best player.”