Nole overcame a quarter-final Khachanov challenge to keep his bid for a record 23rd Grand Slam title alive at the French Open.

Third seed Novak Djokovic rallied from a set down to beat no.11 seed, Russian Karen Khachanov, 4-6, 7-6 (0), 6-2, 6-4 and reach his 45th major semi-final.

The two-time former champion did not earn a break point in the opening two sets, but he raised his level and played a perfect second-set tie-break (7-0) on Court Philippe-Chatrier.

Novak broke his rival’s serve twice in both the third and fourth sets, and suffered one break, having saved six of the seven he faced, during the three-hour, 38-minute contest.

“I think he was the better player for most of the first two sets,” said Djokovic. “I was struggling to find my rhythm. I made a lot of unforced errors and came into the match quite slow, sluggish. But I played the perfect second-set tie-break, and from that moment I played a couple of levels higher than I did at the beginning. There was a bit of a scare towards the end of the fourth set, but I managed to win eight points in a row to finish it off. It was a big fight. It’s something that you expect in the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam. You’re not going to have your victories handed over to you. You’ve got to earn them, so I’m just glad to overcome the big challenge of today.”

Match statistics: aces (11-7), double faults (5-4), winners (57-38), unforced errors (42-44), total points won (135-114).

For a place in the Roland Garros final, Novak will play top seed Carlos Alcaraz (ESP, H2H 0-1) who beat no.5 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) 6-2, 6-1, 7-6.

Photo: Profimedia

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