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Novak Djokovic ends Rafael Nadal's reign at French Open

By Phil Blanche

Published 03/06/2015

Serbia's Novak Djokovic beat Spain's Rafael Nadal at the Roland Garros stadium, in Paris, France, Wednesday, June 3, 2015. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
Serbia's Novak Djokovic beat Spain's Rafael Nadal at the Roland Garros stadium, in Paris, France, Wednesday, June 3, 2015. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
TOPSHOTS Spain's Rafael Nadal waves to the crowd as he leaves the court following his defeat against Serbia's Novak Djokovic at the end of their men's quarter final match of the Roland Garros 2015 French Tennis Open in Paris on June 3, 2015. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARDKENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images
TOPSHOTS Spain's Rafael Nadal gets readu tp serve to Serbia's Novak Djokovic during their men's quarter final match of the Roland Garros 2015 French Tennis Open in Paris on June 3, 2015. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARDKENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images
Spain's Rafael Nadal wipes the sweat of his face in the quarterfinal match of the French Open tennis tournament against Serbia's Novak Djokovic at the Roland Garros stadium, in Paris, France, Wednesday, June 3, 2015. (AP Photo/David Vincent)
Spain's Rafael Nadal answers questions during a press conference after the quarterfinal match of the French Open tennis tournament against Serbia's Novak Djokovic who won in three sets, 7-5, 6-3, 6-1, at the Roland Garros stadium, in Paris, France, Wednesday, June 3, 2015. (AP Photo/David Vincent)
Spain's Rafael Nadal waves goodbye to spectators as he leaves center court while Serbia's Novak Djokovic celebrates winning the quarterfinal match of the French Open tennis tournament in three sets, 7-5, 6-3, 6-1, at the Roland Garros stadium, in Paris, France, Wednesday, June 3, 2015. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
Serbia's Novak Djokovic hugs Spain's Rafael Nadal, left, after winning the quarterfinal match of the French Open tennis tournament in three sets, 7-5, 6-3, 6-1, at the Roland Garros stadium, in Paris, France, Wednesday, June 3, 2015. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
Serbia's Novak Djokovic celebrates winning the quarterfinal match of the French Open tennis tournament against Spain's Rafael Nadal in three sets, 7-5, 6-3, 6-1, at the Roland Garros stadium, in Paris, France, Wednesday, June 3, 2015. (AP Photo/David Vincent)
Serbia's Novak Djokovic celebrates winning the quarterfinal match of the French Open tennis tournament against Spain's Rafael Nadal in three sets, 7-5, 6-3, 6-1, at the Roland Garros stadium, in Paris, France, Wednesday, June 3, 2015. (AP Photo/David Vincent)
Spain's Rafael Nadal grimaces after missing a shot in the quarterfinal match of the French Open tennis tournament against Serbia's Novak Djokovic at the Roland Garros stadium, in Paris, France, Wednesday, June 3, 2015. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
Spain's Rafael Nadal waves goodbye to spectators as he leaves center court while Serbia's Novak Djokovic celebrates winning the quarterfinal match of the French Open tennis tournament in three sets, 7-5, 6-3, 6-1, at the Roland Garros stadium, in Paris, France, Wednesday, June 3, 2015. (AP Photo/David Vincent)
Serbia's Novak Djokovic celebrates his victory over Spain's Rafael Nadal at the end of their men's quarter final match of the Roland Garros 2015 French Tennis Open in Paris on June 3, 2015. AFP PHOTO / PASCAL GUYOTPASCAL GUYOT/AFP/Getty Images
Spain's Rafael Nadal reacts after losing a point against Serbia's Novak Djokovic during their men's quarter final match of the Roland Garros 2015 French Tennis Open in Paris on June 3, 2015. AFP PHOTO / PASCAL GUYOTPASCAL GUYOT/AFP/Getty Images
Serbia's Novak Djokovic (R) shakes hands with French tennis Federation president Jean Gachassin as he celebrates his victory over Spain's Rafael Nadal at the end of their men's quarter final match of the Roland Garros 2015 French Tennis Open in Paris on June 3, 2015. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARDKENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images
Spain's Rafael Nadal (R) shakes hands with Serbia's Novak Djokovic at the end of their men's quarter final match of the Roland Garros 2015 French Tennis Open in Paris on June 3, 2015. AFP PHOTO / PASCAL GUYOTPASCAL GUYOT/AFP/Getty Images
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 03: Rafael Nadal of Spain slides on the clay in his Men's quarter final match against Novak Djokovic of Serbia on day eleven of the 2015 French Open at Roland Garros on June 3, 2015 in Paris, France. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 03: Rafael Nadal of Spain slides on the clay in his Men's quarter final match against Novak Djokovic of Serbia on day eleven of the 2015 French Open at Roland Garros on June 3, 2015 in Paris, France. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 03: Novak Djokovic of Serbia returns a shot in his Men's quarter final match against Rafael Nadal of Spain on day eleven of the 2015 French Open at Roland Garros on June 3, 2015 in Paris, France. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Novak Djokovic dismantled nine-times champion Rafael Nadal in straight sets at the French Open to stay firmly on course for a career Grand Slam.

Nadal's king of clay crown slipped as Djokovic underlined his status as the world number one with a 7-5 6-3 6-1 quarter-final victory in Paris, the two-time finalist from Serbia taking his place in the last four in the most emphatic fashion.

The comprehensive nature of Djokovic's victory was no surprise on the evidence of the recent form of the two men, but Nadal had previously lost only once on the clay of Roland Garros and that defeat came 40 games ago.

Djokovic is now two victories away from claiming his first French Open title - he was runner-up in 2012 and 2014 - and it would be a brave act to bet against him doing so as he has still yet to lose a set in Paris this year in extending his winning streak to 27 matches.

Andy Murray to face Novak Djokovic in final after beating David Ferrer  

The first set was the longest of the match at 67 minutes and Nadal exhibited signs of the brilliance which has taken him to so many triumphs in Paris.

The hard-hitting Djokovic set out his stall by racing into a 4-0 first set lead but Nadal discovered his rhythm to break back twice and level.

But the Spaniard had to save three set points at 5-4, the last two exquisite drop shots which Djokovic had no answer to.

Djokovic applied the pressure again on Nadal's next service game and, after failing to take two opportunities, he finally closed out at the sixth time of asking with a low forehand which his opponent could not keep in play.

But Djokovic was soon unhappy over the fact that the court had not been watered at the end of the first set, the Serb slipping several times as the second set became a battle of attrition with the server on top.

Rafael Nadal's king of clay crown slipped as Djokovic underlined his status as the world number one (AP Photo/David Vincent)
Rafael Nadal's king of clay crown slipped as Djokovic underlined his status as the world number one (AP Photo/David Vincent)

Nadal also had problems keeping his footing and Djokovic broke to lead 5-3 before taking a two-set advantage on his fourth set point.

There was no way back for Nadal after that as the relentless Djokovic punished every mistake and went for winners at every opportunity.

Djokovic stormed into a 4-0 lead before Nadal dug deep from 15-30 down to win three straight points and get on the board.

But the Spaniard's old swagger was gone and a double fault to hand Djokovic the match summed up what was a disappointingly one-sided affair.

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