Nadal outlasts Djokovic to reach French Open final

by ChessBase
6/7/2013 – It was one of the most thrilling tennis matches ever – with two of the greatest players ever showing everything the game has to offer: a near tumble over the net, trick-shot mishaps, warnings for time wasting and angry outbursts. And sinew-stretching rallies from the baseline that show to what extraordinary levels tennis has progressed. Pictorial report, videos and a puzzle (now with its solution).

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French Open 2013

35,000 spectators at the premier clay court tournament in the world

The seven-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal, Spain, twice let a lead slip away...

... allowing Novak Djokovic to summon his best tennis of the day and equalise

Nadal had stood two points from the final in the fourth set when he inexplicably let Djokovic off the hook by dropping serve at 6-5 up. Djokovic blitzed through the fourth set tiebreak 7-3 and then streaked into a 4-2 lead in the decider when Nadal's fighting instincts kicked in to leave the Serb floundering. A forehand long on match point secured Nadal an unprecedented eighth appearance in the Paris final.

See report and videos at Eurosport/Yahoo

A question to our readers: what possible justification could we have to present this tennis
report on our chess news page? The solution to this puzzle will be revealed here tomorrow.

The solution

As litereally hundreds of readers explained to us, the chess connection was a passionately cheering Vladimir Kramnik in the audience in the third picture above.

The picture was taken by GM Magesh Panchanathan with an iPhone off the TV broadcast on an LG flat screen. Magesh sent it to us while the Nadal-Djokovic match was in its fourth set, with the message "I am watching the French Open semis between Nadal and Djokovic and happened to notice an unusually animated Kramnik cheering for Djokovic!" Thanks Magesh for this lovely little contribution to our news page.

Indeed, Vladimir is a big Djokovic fan, while his wife Marie-Laure (with the hat on the left) was rooting for the Spaniard. There was tension in the air when we spoke to both on the evening after the match, but in our estimation the marriage will survive this difference of opinion and attitude.

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