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Freeman Cebu Sports

Premature Ejaculation

WRECKORDER - FGS Gujilde - The Freeman

That’s what happens when two of the greatest players from trivalry eternity collide way earlier at a major. Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal reasserted their supremacy against each other at a surface owned by the king of clay. But prince Djokovic is next in line king, being only the second man to beat Rafa in Paris. Not only once but twice.

But they already battled before the match. Rafa wanted to play under the sunshine, Novak under the moonlight. In the end nature’s satellite outshone the star nearest to the planet. But Rafa was ready to go for broke against the heavily favored Serbian, And so was the defending champion world number one.

It’s neither seeding nor ranking, but drawing power. Players of their caliber should meet at the finale only, not warm-up at the quarterfinals, the pinnacle of the ordinary mortals. But it happens when both are ranked one and two. While Djokovic stayed at number one like he’s the only one, Rafa has risen and fallen. But surprised many when he won Aussie. But to others it was lackluster, he didn’t get it from Djokovic who was denied another shot at the year’s inaugural crown when he refused one shot against the viral crown.

So now they both starred in quarterfinal blockbuster. Never mind Roger Federer. The king of grass has a special place in tennis history even if he retires stuck at twenty, half his age of forty. Nadal has 21, Djokovic is likely to win another one. Although not on clay, not this year. But not never. Despite his thinning hairline, Rafa hit the lines to draw the thin line. Vintage Rafa is back, he refuses to kneel to his chronic knee injury and more.

All elements of his clay mastery came into play, from dropshot to overhead, from deep retrievals to passing shots, one of which bailed him out from a do or die final set. No, Rafa just survived one that went the distance against a teenage Canadian named Felix. Against Djokovic, he had to get it done and over with after coming from behind twice to force a tiebreak.

After four pulsating sets of a quarterfinal that felt like a breathtaking final. Anticlimactic. But it feels better if Rafa next beats Aleksander Zverev who stunned his heir apparent Carlos Alcaraz. And it feels best if he wins fourteenth against a surprise finalist. Whoever that is. The other half of the draw lost star value when Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas fell way ahead. Now Rafa has another chance to rewrite history worthy of his stature and statue. Even if he loses in the semis, he already scored a moral victory to immortality against a foe with a different brand of morality.

NOVAK DJOKOVIC

RAFAEL NADAL

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