Novak Djokovic Defeats Stefanos Tsitsipas to Win 2021 French Open Men’s Final

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Novak Djokovic earned the 19th Grand Slam title of his career with a thrilling five-set victory over Stefanos Tsitsipas in the French Open final.

The No. 1 player in the world overcame a slow start to earn a 6-7 (6), 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 win over the fifth-seeded Tsitsipas on Sunday at Roland Garros. He won 78 percent of his first-serve points and was broken just three times on the way to the hard-fought win after four hours and 11 minutes action.

A break in the third game of the fifth set played a key role in securing the victory, thanks in part to one of the best shots of the tournament.

Djokovic held his serve for the rest of the set to close out the win.

After also handing Rafael Nadal just his third career French Open loss in the semifinal, Djokovic is now the first person in the Open Era to win each Grand Slam at least twice. The 34-year-old sits one shy of Nadal and Roger Federer for the most major titles in men’s history (20).

Tsitsipas was already the first Greek male to reach a Grand Slam final, but the 22-year-old fell short of his first title.

Djokovic entered as a heavy favorite, but the two looked evenly matched during an entertaining first set.

Tsitsipas made a number of excellent shots to keep pace in the early going.

Both players had a chance to win the set before it went to a tiebreak, which saw even more drama. A 4-0 Tsitsipas lead turned into a 6-5 Djokovic advantage, but three straight points from the underdog led to an opening-set victory.

The momentum continued into the second set, earning a break in the first game on the way to a 6-2 victory.

Djokovic had 10 unforced errors in the set and never even got a break opportunity as Tsitsipas continued to showcase his skill set.

Djokovic finally looked like his old self in the third, winning 71 percent of service points on the way to a 6-3 win.

There were still plenty of tough points, but the Serbian found ways to finish.

Tsitsipas, meanwhile, dealt with back pain before the fourth set and required treatment with his trainer before coming back out. Djokovic took advantage, winning the next four games on the way to a 6-2 win. 

The fifth set featured some more long rallies with both players showing incredible endurance to keep the battle alive.

Tsitsipas might have surrendered his early lead, but there was no question about his effort throughout the five sets. He saved 11 of 16 break points and fought off one championship point while keeping his chance at the upset alive.

It just wasn’t enough to take down one of the best ever.

Djokovic was on the brink of a disappointing loss in the final but found a way to dig deep for the come-from-behind victory. It was the first time he overcame a 0-2 set deficit in a Grand Slam final, per ESPN Stats & Info.

He also overcame a 2-0 deficit in his fourth-round win over Lorenzo Musetti earlier in this tournament, another step in one of the most impressive title runs of his career.

Though Tsitsipas likely has a long career ahead of him, Djokovic refuses to step aside for the younger generation.

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