Novak Djokovic worked his way back into the French Open final, taking care of Ernests Gulbis and his big serve 6-3, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 on Friday.
The second-seeded Serb was able to control the pace of the match on Court Philippe Chatrier while letting Gulbis’ unforced errors mount. The powerful Latvian, who was playing in his first Grand Slam semifinal, finished with 44 errors.
Djokovic was first to get into trouble in the first semifinal, but he managed to save two break points and hold to 2-2 in the opening set.
A few minutes later, he was ahead for good. Djokovic needed three attempts to earn his first break of the match, and he finally got it when Gulbis sent one of his many forehands long.
It was also in that game that Gulbis had his first of five double-faults. His second double came in the final game of the set, when Djokovic broke again. And his third came when trailing Djokovic 4-3 in the second, when the Serb broke yet again.
Gulbis fared better in the third set. He again had two break points while leading 3-2, but again failed to win the game. However, he didn’t waste his chance two games later, breaking Djokovic to take a 5-3 lead before serving out the set with his 11th ace.
The two traded breaks early in the fourth set, and Djokovic broke again to lead 5-3 when Gulbis, again double-faulting once in the game, sent a backhand long.
Djokovic won the last game at love.