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Djokovic overcomes Gulbis to reach second final

ESPN staff
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Novak Djokovic lost to Rafael Nadal in the 2012 French Open final © Getty Images
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Novak Djokovic is one win away from completing a career Grand Slam after he beat Ernests Gulbis to seal a place in the final of the French Open.

The world No.2 ended the dream run of Gulbis in Paris 6-3 6-3 3-6 6-3 to reach his second final at Roland Garros, where he will take on defending and eight-time champion Rafael Nadal.

"I'm going to try to be aggressive, because that is the only way I can win against him [Nadal]," Djokovic said. "I know that, of course, this is the court he's most dominant on. He has only lost one time in his career. This is where he plays his best."

Gulbis defeated Roger Federer in the last 16 and Tomas Berdych in the quarter-finals to reach his maiden grand slam semi-final, but despite taking the third set suffered his fifth loss in six career meetings against Djokovic.

Djokovic, who lost to Nadal in the 2012 final, broke Gulbis to take a 4-2 lead after fending off two break points in the fourth game. He then clinched the set 6-3 at the third time of asking despite not playing at his best.

However, the Serb raised his game to take the second set by the same scoreline in 33 minutes.

Gulbis looked more threatening on the Djokovic serve as he began to respond in the third set, forcing his opponent to save several break points in the sixth game.

But Djokovic was broken in the eighth game as Gulbis closed in on the third set, taking it 6-3 with an ace on the back of three consecutive points.

Djokovic claimed an early break to go 2-0 in front at the start of the fourth set, but Gulbis broke straight back to level at 2-2.

The following three games went on serve, but it was Djokovic who broke for a second time after Gulbis' shot drifted long, which proved to be his final contribution of the semi-final as Djokovic held serve to love to complete victory.

"It was a struggle out there," Gulbis said. "I felt maybe throughout the match I hit five really clean shots, from either side, backhand or forehand. Even serve."

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