Djokovic Holds Off Gulbis to Reach French Open Final

by John on June 6, 2014

Djkovic RG14

Novak Djokovic beat the heat and flashy Latvian Ernests Gulbis on Friday afternoon to advance to his second French Open final. Djokovic’s 6-3, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 semifinal win sets up another battle with long-time rival and eight-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal, who defeated Andy Murray in the second semifinal of the day. Djokovic will be looking to win his first title at Roland Garros and become the eighth man to complete the career Grand Slam. He lost the 2012 French final to Nadal. Competing in heat which peaked at 82 degrees, Djokovic played with workmanlike efficiency in the first two sets, breaking twice in the opener and once in the second. Gulbis couldn’t get his forehand untracked and committed numerous unforced errors on that wing. One of the commentators opined the “match virtually over” at that point. Not resigned to go out with a whimper, the real Gulbis showed up in the third set at the same time Djokovic’s game started to sag a bit. Pounding his serve and pummeling his backhand, Gulbis had the Serb on his heels much of the stanza. Gulbis got the only break of the set in the eighth game and closed it out with an ace on his first set point. Djokovic held to open the fourth set, and with a break in the next game, appeared to have regained his mojo. Not to be, as Gulbis broke right back. Both held comfortably the next four games. At 3-4, Gulbis missed three first serves and at 30/40 was broken when he sailed a backhand long. Djokovic held to reach his 13th Grand Slam final. “The first two sets were very good for me, after that he played with fewer errors,” Djokovic said. “It was very difficult for me to concentrate, the conditions were tough. I am happy to have got through to the final.” Gulbis served 13 aces to nine for Djokovic, and hit 40 winners, the Serb 30. Gulbis committed 44 unforced errors, while Djokovic had just 25. ”It was a struggle out there,” Gulbis said. ”I felt maybe throughout the match I hit five really clean shots, from either side, backhand or forehand. Even serve.”




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