Summary List Placement
The Serbian was two sets to one up against Italy’s Berrettini in Wednesday’s quarterfinal when play was halted and the 5,000 strong crowd was ushered out of the Court Philippe Chatrier.
From 11 p.m. to 6 a.m., a curfew is in place in metropolitan France, with people only allowed to leave their homes for work, medical appointments, walking pets, and emergencies.
Until Wednesday, the curfew had run from 9 p.m., but it was shortened in response to new coronavirus cases in France falling in recent weeks.
After the curfew time arrived, some fans initially refused to leave, chanting: “We’ve paid, we’ll stay.” Others booed as they left the arena.
Scheduling at this year’s French Open has been a point of contention with players and fans, with many of the biggest matches of the tournament being played after the curfew as part of a broadcast agreement with Amazon.
After his quarterfinal defeat on Tuesday, Russia’s Daniil Medvedev accused tournament organizers of preferring “Amazon to people,” for putting his match against Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas at 9 p.m., meaning no fans could watch in the arena.
French Open tournament director Guy Forget said last week that organizers had a commitment with Amazon to schedule each day’s match of the day at night.
On Wednesday evening, when the players returned to an empty stadium, Djokovic wrapped up a comfortable 6-3, 6-2, 6-7 (5-7), 7-5 win to book his place in the last four at Roland-Garros for an 11th time.
“It was a lot of fans involved, every single point cheering, screaming. Just an electric atmosphere out there,” Djokovic said after the win.
“I’m happy that I had that experience of playing in front of the crowd in the night session.”
The 34-year-old added, however, that while he was disappointed to see the fans leave, he felt like he needed the break in play.
“I didn’t mind actually leaving the court because I felt like I needed a little bit of a break and reset,” he said. “It’s unfortunate for the tournament, for the crowd, to have that curfew. But we knew it before the match.”
Berrettini, on the other hand, said the ejection of the crowd and break in play ruined his momentum after he’d just won the third set.
“It’s something that I didn’t like. I was feeling the momentum. I was playing good,” he said.
“Stopping wasn’t the best thing I think for my tennis, but I had to take it. Also physically I think didn’t help me. I got back on court and I wasn’t feeling great.”
Djokovic faces 13-time French Open winner Nadal in the semifinal on Friday. The winner will progress to the final where they will face the victor of a match between Tsitipas and Germany’s Alexander Zverev, also played Friday.