Brilliant Novak dethrones Rafa to reach fifth straight SFs in Paris!

PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 03:  Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates a point 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)

Victorious Nole kept alive his dream of completing the career Grand Slam by reaching the semi-finals of the second Major event of the season on Wednesday.

World no.1 and two-time runner-up Novak Djokovic came through his toughest test so far at Roland Garros, beating nine-time French Open winner Rafael Nadal 7-5, 6-3, 6-1 in one of the most eagerly anticipated Grand Slam quarter-finals in history.

They have met a record 44 times, seven times on Parisian clay, three times in the final (21-23 H2H).

Novak handed Rafa only his second defeat in 72 matches at Roland Garros. The top seed extended his winning streak to 27 matches and recorded his 40th win in 2015.

The opening set lasted 67 minutes. Novak raced to a 4-0 lead after 21 minutes of play, but the Spaniard fought back to 4-4. Djokovic put the pressure on Nadal again to earn three break/set points in a 12-minute 10th game, but had to wait until the 12th to make the decisive break and seal the set 7-5.

Both players were cruising through their service games until the eighth game of the second set when the Belgrade native seized a break for 5-3. Nole served it out, putting Nadal in a two-set deficit on clay for the first time in his career.

Djokovic kept the momentum going into the third set. He won it 6-1, clinching the victory in two hours and 26 minutes.

“I felt a huge relief after I won the first set,” Novak said. “I managed to execute my game plan, which is not easy. Right now I’m aware that this is a big win which I will enjoy tonight, but tomorrow is a new day and I will move on. It’s only the quarter-finals, and I want to fight for the title. That’s what I came here for. I have to direct my thoughts to the semis.”

Match statistics: aces (3-3), double faults (0-2), winners (45-16), unforced errors (30-30), total points won (102-71).

The 28-year-old Serbian star, looking to win Roland Garros for the first time and become the eighth man in history to complete the career Grand Slam, will face Andy Murray (GBR, 3) for a place in Sunday’s final.

Novak leads Andy 18-8 in H2H meetings having won their last seven encounters, the most recent in the Miami Masters final (7-6, 4-6, 6-0). Djokovic was triumphant in their last GS clash, the Australian Open title match (7-6, 6-7, 6-3, 6-0).

The other semi-final will see Stan Wawrinka (SUI, 8) take on Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA, 14).

Photo: Getty Images

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