Highlights: Djokovic overcomes Nadal in classic battle in Paris

Tennis

French Open tennis – Highlights: Novak Djokovic overcomes Rafael Nadal in classic battle in Paris

French Open tennis – Highlights: Novak Djokovic overcomes Rafael Nadal in a classic battle in Paris. Watch all the action from the 2021 French Open live on Eurosport, eurosport.co.uk and the Eurosport app with world number one Novak Djokovic facing Stefanos Tsitsipas in the men’s final and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova taking on Barbora Krejcikova in the women’s final.

00:04:15, 6 hours ago

'We have to start talking about the GOAT' – Wilander wowed by Djokovic win over Nadal

Novak Djokovic was at his very, very best as he downed Rafael Nadal, 3-6 6-3 7-6 6-2, during their French Open semi-final in what will go down as an all-time classic, and Eurosport’s Mats Wilander was left seriously impressed.

In what is only the third match Nadal has ever lost at Roland Garros, the 13-time champion was beaten on his favourite court with Djokovic simply unplayable over the four sets.

Both players traded winners with an array of incredible rallies which thrilled the Court Philippe Chatrier crowd and the standard of play simply could not have been higher.

Roland-Garros

‘One of the top three matches in my life’ – Djokovic reacts to epic win over Nadal

7 HOURS AGO

Djokovic and Rafael Nadal put on a masterclass at Roland Garros as they met for the second consecutive year – but this time the Serb came out on top after four hours and 11 minutes, and Wilander was wowed.

‘Where did that come from?’ – Djokovic laughs at Nadal brilliance with mad shot

“I haven’t [seen a better clay court match],” Wilander told Eurosport. “It seemed like the courts were playing really fast and they had so little time and both players had to anticipate when the other player hit. Novak, that’s as aggressive as I have seen him be on a clay court especially at Roland-Garros.

“Novak says this is the greatest match he’s played against Rafa at Roland-Garros and of course he’s beaten him once before. But it gets to the point where you can’t overlook these numbers.

“Obviously he has got Stefanos Tsitsipas in the finals and he will be liking what he saw in terms of the hours Novak had to spend.

Novak could be on 19 after this and there could be three guys on 20 after Wimbledon. We have to start talking about the GOAT.

Highlights: Djokovic overcomes Nadal in classic battle in Paris

Mischa Zverev told Eurosport: “It was incredible and hard to describe because you’ve seen them play well before and every time they do it again you think it’s impossible but they still produce the quality that is from another planet.

“The third set had all the up and downs. At times it was like a computer game because no matter where they hit the ball, A – it’s landing in, and B the guy is already there and it’s impossible to hit winners, they don’t make any unforced errors and still the [other player] still finds a winner. It’s just impossible how they were playing.

“It could have gone the other way like five times on five different occasions. But again, you barely saw any unforced errors. Everyone was going for really tough shots and they were making them so you can’t say someone did something wrong, it was just incredible tennis. Novak was just too good towards the end.”

After the match, Djokovic said it was a “very special” match and in the top three in his career after overcoming the Spaniard.

“Definitely the best atmosphere, the best match that I’ve played on centre court at Roland-Garros in my career against my biggest rival,” Djokovic told Eurosport.

The energy of the place was electric from the first point, for both players there was a lot of support. It was one of these matches you can remember forever, definitely one of the top three matches in my life.

Watch the moment Djokovic beats Nadal to reach final at Roland Garros

“I’m obviously overjoyed right now, very happy, very satisfied with how I played especially in the crucial moments. Beating Rafa at Roland-Garros: we all know how difficult of a task that is so of course, it makes it even bigger tonight.

“The conditions at night and during the day are played differently. The balls are bouncing less at night and I felt there was too much clay around the baseline at the beginning and maybe it was because it was a little bit more humid and heavy so that created a different environment as a player. But I managed to find my groove. I didn’t start well – I was 0-5 down, but I still felt I was hitting the ball well and had a good chance.”

Djokovic lost to the 13-time champion in Paris last year and the pair played some absurdly good shots during their huge latest clash – so much so, Andy Murray was among the stars lauding the match.

“You cannot play better clay court tennis than this,” Murray said. “It’s perfect.”

Andy Roddick added: “To this point, it’s one of the best matches I’ve ever seen.”

Remarkably, Djokovic lost the first five games of the match as Nadal roared into a one-set lead, but the top seed found quite staggering levels to beat the King of Clay on Chatrier – surely one of the toughest tasks in sports.

An unusual and amazing shot came early on with Nadal attempting to save three break points on his own serve in the second game of the second set.

While Djokovic would go on to break serve in response to the Spaniard winning the opening set 6-3, the 13-time champion at Roland Garros saved this particular break point with a truly sublime effort.

‘How on earth?!’ – Djokovic wins incredible rally then whips up crowd

“It has to be that good at the moment!” exclaimed Eurosport’s Simon Reed on commentary as Nadal left Djokovic laughing with a drop shot played while running backwards and to the side in a desperate reaction.

Djokovic, 34, has won the French Open once, in 2016, compared to Nadal’s 13 titles at Roland Garros but both men are in the hunt to end their careers with the most Grand Slam titles to their names.

‘Lights out play!’ – Nadal with ‘something special’ against Djokovic

Djokovic will now take on Stefanos Tsitsipas, who earlier reached his first Grand Slam final – and made history by becoming Greece’s first to do so too.

The fifth seed showed all his class and supreme form as he battled past Alexander Zverev, 6-3 6-3 4-6 4-6 6-3 in their semi-final on Friday afternoon.

The Greek star, who was playing in his third successive Grand Slam semi-final, had to hold his nerve in a dramatic deciding set and was then left “very emotional” in his on-court interview.

– – –

Watch all the action from the 2021 French Open live on Eurosport, eurosport.co.uk and the Eurosport app with 13-time champion Nadal eyeing a remarkable 14th title and two surprise names in the women’s final in Paris.

Roland-Garros

Djokovic downs Nadal in all-time classic semi-final in Paris

8 HOURS AGO

'One of the top three matches in my life' – Djokovic reacts to epic win over Nadal

Novak Djokovic was at his very, very best as he downed Rafael Nadal, 3-6 6-3 7-6 6-2, during their French Open semi-final in what will go down as an all-time classic and he ranked it in his top three matches ever.

In what is only the third match Nadal has ever lost at Roland Garros, the 13-time champion was beaten on his favourite court with Djokovic simply unplayable over the four sets.

Both players traded winners with an array of incredible rallies which thrilled the Court Philippe Chatrier crowd and the standard of play simply could not have been higher.

Roland-Garros

‘We have to start talking about the GOAT’ – Wilander wowed by Djokovic win over Nadal

7 HOURS AGO

Djokovic and Rafael Nadal put on a masterclass at Roland Garros as they met for the second consecutive year – but this time the Serb came out on top after four hours and 11 minutes.

After the match, Djokovic said it was a “very special” match and in the top three in his career after overcoming the Spaniard.

‘Where did that come from?’ – Djokovic laughs at Nadal brilliance with mad shot

“Definitely the best atmosphere, the best match that I’ve played on centre court at Roland-Garros in my career against my biggest rival,” Djokovic told Eurosport.

The energy of the place was electric from the first point, for both players there was a lot of support. It was one of these matches you can remember forever, definitely one of the top three matches in my life.

“I’m obviously overjoyed right now, very happy, very satisfied with how I played especially in the crucial moments. Beating Rafa at Roland-Garros: we all know how difficult of a task that is so of course, it makes it even bigger tonight.

“The conditions at night and during the day are played differently. The balls are bouncing less at night and I felt there was too much clay around the baseline at the beginning and maybe it was because it was a little bit more humid and heavy so that created a different environment as a player. But I managed to find my groove. I didn’t start well I was 0-5 down, but I still felt I was hitting the ball well and had a good chance.”

Djokovic lost to the 13-time champion in Paris last year and the pair played some absurdly good shots during their huge latest clash – so much so, Andy Murray was among the stars lauding the match.

“You cannot play better clay court tennis than this,” Murray said. “It’s perfect.”

Andy Roddick added: “To this point, it’s one of the best matches I’ve ever seen.”

Remarkably, Djokovic lost the first five games of the match as Nadal roared into a one-set lead, but the top seed found quite staggering levels to beat the King of Clay on Chatrier – surely one of the toughest tasks in sports.

An unusual and amazing shot came early on with Nadal attempting to save three break points on his own serve in the second game of the second set.

While Djokovic would go on to break serve in response to the Spaniard winning the opening set 6-3, the 13-time champion at Roland Garros saved this particular break point with a truly sublime effort.

‘How on earth?!’ – Djokovic wins incredible rally then whips up crowd

“It has to be that good at the moment!” exclaimed Eurosport’s Simon Reed on commentary as Nadal left Djokovic laughing with a drop shot played while running backwards and to the side in a desperate reaction.

Djokovic, 34, has won the French Open once, in 2016, compared to Nadal’s 13 titles at Roland Garros but both men are in the hunt to end their careers with the most Grand Slam titles to their names.

‘Lights out play!’ – Nadal with ‘something special’ against Djokovic

Djokovic will now take on Stefanos Tsitsipas, who earlier reached his first Grand Slam final – and made history by becoming Greece’s first to do so too.

The fifth seed showed all his class and supreme form as he battled past Alexander Zverev, 6-3 6-3 4-6 4-6 6-3 in their semi-final on Friday afternoon.

The Greek star, who was playing in his third successive Grand Slam semi-final, had to hold his nerve in a dramatic deciding set and was then left “very emotional” in his on-court interview.

Highlights: Djokovic overcomes Nadal in classic battle in Paris

– – –

Watch all the action from the 2021 French Open live on Eurosport, eurosport.co.uk and the Eurosport app with 13-time champion Nadal eyeing a remarkable 14th title and two surprise names in the women’s final in Paris.

Roland-Garros

Djokovic downs Nadal in all-time classic semi-final in Paris

8 HOURS AGO

Djokovic downs Nadal in all-time classic semi-final in Paris

Novak Djokovic was at his very, very best as he downed Rafael Nadal, 3-6 6-3 7-6 6-2, during their French Open semi-final in what will go down as an all-time classic.

In what is only the third match Nadal has ever lost at Roland Garros, the 13-time champion was beaten on his favourite court with Djokovic simply unplayable over the four sets.

Both players traded winners with an array of incredible rallies which thrilled the Court Philippe Chatrier crowd and the standard of play simply could not have been higher.

Roland-Garros

‘We have to start talking about the GOAT’ – Wilander wowed by Djokovic win over Nadal

7 HOURS AGO

Djokovic and Rafael Nadal put on a masterclass at Roland Garros as they met for the second consecutive year – but this time the Serb came out on top after four hours and 11 minutes.

‘One of the top three matches in my life’ – Djokovic reacts to epic win over Nadal

Djokovic lost to the 13-time champion in Paris last year and the pair played some absurdly good shots during their huge latest clash – so much so, Andy Murray was among the stars lauding the match.

Remarkably, Djokovic lost the first five games of the match as Nadal roared into a one-set lead, but the top seed found quite staggering levels to beat the King of Clay on Chatrier – surely one of the toughest tasks in sports.

“You cannot play better clay court tennis than this,” Murray said. “It’s perfect.”

An unusual and amazing shot came early on with Nadal attempting to save three break points on his own serve in the second game of the second set.

While Djokovic would go on to break serve in response to the Spaniard winning the opening set 6-3, the 13-time champion at Roland Garros saved this particular break point with a truly sublime effort.

‘How on earth?!’ – Djokovic wins incredible rally then whips up crowd

“It has to be that good at the moment!” exclaimed Eurosport’s Simon Reed on commentary as Nadal left Djokovic laughing with a drop shot played while running backwards and to the side in a desperate reaction.

A curfew had been put in place for the semi-final but, thrillingly for the fans inside the stadium, they found out after the world number one edged a stunning third set that they would, in fact, be allowed to stay on.

There were wild and joyous scenes as the fans celebrated the announcement more than any of the epic rallies they had witnessed up until that point as Nadal and Djokovic traded breathtaking shots and winners.

Nadal threw everything at the top seed but, after his slow start, Djokovic always seemed to just have the edge when the big points came around and he managed to close out a thrilling four-set win.

Djokovic, 34, has won the French Open once, in 2016, compared to Nadal’s 13 titles at Roland Garros but both men are in the hunt to end their careers with the most Grand Slam titles to their names.

‘Lights out play!’ – Nadal with ‘something special’ against Djokovic

Djokovic will now take on Stefanos Tsitsipas, who earlier reached his first Grand Slam final – and made history by becoming Greece’s first to do so too.

The fifth seed showed all his class and supreme form as he battled past Alexander Zverev, 6-3 6-3 4-6 4-6 6-3 in their semi-final on Friday afternoon.

The Greek star, who was playing in his third successive Grand Slam semi-final, had to hold his nerve in a dramatic deciding set and was then left “very emotional” in his on-court interview.

Watch the moment Djokovic beats Nadal to reach final at Roland Garros

– – –

Watch all the action from the 2021 French Open live on Eurosport, eurosport.co.uk and the Eurosport app with 13-time champion Nadal eyeing a remarkable 14th title and two surprise names in the women’s final in Paris.

Roland-Garros

‘One of the top three matches in my life’ – Djokovic reacts to epic win over Nadal

7 HOURS AGO

Djokovic v Nadal fans go wild hearing they can stay despite curfew

There were joyous scenes on Court Philippe Chatrier as fans enthralled by the incredible semi-final between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic were allowed to stay on despite a curfew having been in place.

In stark contrast to the frustrating scenes as the spectators were forced to leave on Wednesday night. The final evening session of the tournament had spectators for the first time with 5,000 lucky fans able to watch the quarter-final between Djokovic and Matteo Berrettini – but with a strict curfew set for 11pm CET.

A curfew had been put in place for the semi-final between Nadal and Djokovic but, thrillingly for the fans inside the stadium, they found out after the world number one edged a stunning third set that they would, in fact, be allowed to stay on.

Roland-Garros

‘We have to start talking about the GOAT’ – Wilander wowed by Djokovic win over Nadal

7 HOURS AGO

There were wild and joyous scenes as the fans celebrated the announcement more than any of the epic rallies they had witnessed up until that point as Nadal and Djokovic traded breathtaking shots and winners.

‘How on earth?!’ – Djokovic wins incredible rally then whips up crowd

It could not have been more different, thankfully, to the scenes on Wednesday. On that occasion, after Berrettini won a third set tie-break to take the match into a fourth set, fans did not heed the instructions to leave the stadium to be in accordance with the curfew in place as a condition of their attendance.

As such, the players then left the court to attempt to ensure that the fans would promptly exit Court Philippe Chatrier. The stands were eventually cleared and play was able to resume in an empty stadium in bizarre fashion.

Eurosport expert Mischa Zverev said at the time: “I’m actually in shock and I don’t know what to say. It’s a bit weird and ridiculous.

‘I’m in shock!’ – Djokovic and Berrettini leave court as fans stay despite curfew

“The curfew was moved back from 9pm to 11pm (CET) and I feel for the people and the players.”

Mats Wilander added that it was “very awkward” and a “weird time” and compared the situation to an apparent protest by some.

Happily, the fans on Friday night were not only treated to an all-time classic between Nadal and Djokovic but were afforded the luxury of staying beyond the curfew.

– – –

Watch all the action from the 2021 French Open live on Eurosport, eurosport.co.uk and the Eurosport app with 13-time champion Nadal eyeing a remarkable 14th title and two surprise names in the women’s final in Paris.

Roland-Garros

‘One of the top three matches in my life’ – Djokovic reacts to epic win over Nadal

7 HOURS AGO

Roland-Garros

Djokovic downs Nadal in all-time classic semi-final in Paris

8 HOURS AGO

'Very emotional' – Tearful Tsitsipas gives powerful interview after reaching final

Stefanos Tsitsipas made history for his country on Friday as he beat Alexander Zverev in a five-set classic to reach the final of the 2021 French Open. He became the first Greek to make a final at a Grand Slam in the process, in what is an enormous moment for Tsitsipas and for Greece, and he was left very emotional in his on-court interview.

The 22-year-old has now amassed a tour-leading 39 match wins on the season, including 22 on clay courts and on Sunday he will attempt to win his first Grand Slam title. Either 13-time champion at Roland Garros, Rafael Nadal, or world number one Novak Djokovic will await him.

Tsitsipas, who was playing in his third successive Grand Slam semi-final, finally managed to go one step further as he battled past Zverev in three hours and 37 minutes to reach his maiden final in Sunday’s showpiece.

Roland-Garros

Tsitsipas makes history as he beats Zverev in thriller to reach final

36 MINUTES AGO

The Greek said on court afterwards: “All I can think of is my roots, where I came from. I came from a really small place outside Athens.

“My dream was to play here, to play at the big stage at the French Open. I never would have thought that I would.

“It was nerve-wracking and so intense. I came back and stayed alive, I had the crowd with me, who were giving me their energy.

It was very difficult and very emotional. This win means a lot. This win is the most important one of my career so far.

“There were a lot of people in Greece cheering for me and I am very happy that Greece is part of the tennis community more now. I’m very happy that me and Maria [Sakkari] have been keeping the hopes of Greek tennis alive.”

There was a big controversy midway through the third set at a crucial moment as Zverev let out all his frustration in a foul-mouthed rant at the umpire after a dubious line call.

‘That’s b*******!’ – Zverev lets rip in furious rant at umpire over decision

Holding a 5-3 lead with a break and with Tsitsipas serving, the initial line call following a deep forehand from the Greek was ‘out’. The umpire leapt out of his chair and overruled, deeming that it was actually in.

But Zverev was furious because he felt he was in position to make a play on the ball and that, in overruling, the umpire essentially gave Tsitsipas a point that was still to be contested – but for the initial call of ‘out’.

It was a very contentious moment at a crucial point, and Zverev proceeded to let rip at the umpire in a furious rant at the net while also protesting to the match referee on the side of the court.

‘It’s on again!’ – Zverev takes Tsitsipas clash into a decider

For Zverev, it was another hugely frustrating defeat in the latter stages of a Slam and the German simply could not keep his level up after roaring back from two sets down to take the match into a decider.

Tsitsipas mixed up his play very impressively throughout and deserved the win, despite the mid-match slump, having found a crucial resurgence in the final set with more attacking and assertive play.

All eyes will now be on Djokovic and Nadal in Friday’s second semi-final on Court Philippe Chatrier with the pair facing off in what is a repeat of last year’s final, which the Spaniard won for his 13th crown in Paris.

Djokovic, 34, has only won the French Open once, in 2016, compared to Nadal’s 13 titles at Roland Garros, with both men in the hunt to end their careers with the most Grand Slam titles to their names.

Tsitsipas has won three of his seven ATP Tour crowns on the red dirt, including Monte Carlo and Lyon this year, but can he go one step further at Roland Garros? We will find out on Sunday.

– – –

Watch all the action from the 2021 French Open live on Eurosport, eurosport.co.uk and the Eurosport app with 13-time champion Nadal eyeing a remarkable 14th title and two surprise names in the women’s final in Paris.

Roland-Garros

‘It’s on again!’ – Zverev takes Tsitsipas clash into a decider

AN HOUR AGO

Roland-Garros

‘That’s b*******!’ – Zverev lets rip in furious rant at umpire over call against Tsitsipas

2 HOURS AGO

'Rafa is unbeatable' – Wilander can't see Nadal losing at Roland Garros

Rafael Nadal reached the French Open semi-finals yet again after beating Diego Schwartzman and Mats Wilander believes the Spaniard is “unbeatable”.

Schwartzman threw absolutely everything he could at his opponent but it still wasn’t enough as Nadal progressed through to the last four at Roland Garros for the 14th time in his illustrious career.

Nadal and Schwartzman served up an absolute treat on Wednesday afternoon in their hotly-anticipated quarter-final clash on Court Philippe Chatrier and the Argentine held his own for much of it.

Roland-Garros

‘Rafa is unbeatable’ – Wilander can’t see Nadal losing at Roland Garros

29 MINUTES AGO

But with the match in the balance midway through the third set, the 13-time champion at Roland Garros stepped up his intensity to a remarkable level to pull away and win through, and Wilander cannot see him being beaten.

“Schwartzman plays with so much power and he bothers Rafa so much – it’s amazing,” Wilander told Eurosport.

“It was an incredible level from him until the end of the third set, and then Rafa just went another step above and you cannot stay with him.

Great job from Diego Schwartzman but Rafa… this tells me he is unbeatable.

Watch the moment Nadal reached French Open semi-finals for 14th time

Fellow Eurosport expert Mischa Zverev added: “It’s hard to describe with words, but people can hang in there for a while with Rafa but then they get tired and Rafa just doesn’t.

“It feels like he could play for three, four, five hours. He could play for seven sets if he needs to, because every point against Rafa you need to win it yourself.

“Rafa is not going to lose it, and that can be exhausting as you have to put so much effort into every shot, it’s incredible.”

There were any number of remarkable points as the pair traded stunning efforts from the back of the court, but for all Schwartzman’s efforts, Nadal always seemed to have another gear and he demonstrated this very clearly in the fourth set.

Among the many incredible points played out between the pair, one shot from the Spaniard literally left his opponent scratching his head.

‘Amazing’ Nadal shot leaves Schwartzman scratching his head

Schwartzman looked convinced that he had won the point at 3-3 40-15 in the second set, having lost the opener, with a blazing forehand down the line that surely would have beaten most players.

But Nadal not only managed to get it back in play with a reflex sliding backhand that sliced its way over the net but he left Schwartzman unable to make a counter effort.

It was so ridiculous that the Argentine was literally left scratching his head mid-court in disbelief that he had not closed out the game with what felt like a winner down the line.

‘That’s a crowd pleaser!’ – Nadal applauds Schwartzman after stunning lob

Schwartzman was very much in the contest until midway through the fourth set when Nadal simply stamped his authority on proceedings and found a level his opponent could not live with.

A huge contest with world number one Novak Djokovic is potentially on the cards for the semi-finals with Nadal having sealed his progression.

A Nadal v Djokovic clash in the last four would be an encounter fans would love and it would be a repeat from last year’s final in the postponed autumnal edition.

In the quarter-finals, Djokovic will next take on ninth seed Matteo Berrettini, after the Italian was handed a walkover due to Roger Federer withdrawing from the tournament.

The three most successful players in the history of the men’s game have won 17 of the last 20 Grand Slam titles between them.

– – –

Watch all the action from the 2021 French Open live on Eurosport, eurosport.co.uk and the Eurosport app with 13-time champion Nadal eyeing a remarkable 14th title and the women’s draw wide open at Roland Garros in Paris.

Roland-Garros

Brilliant Nadal battles past Schwartzman to reach semis

AN HOUR AGO

Roland-Garros

‘What an effort!’ – Schwartzman breaks Nadal sets streak to level up

2 HOURS AGO

'I did nothing!' – Badosa furious with umpire over coaching violation

Tamara Zidansek won through to the French Open semi-finals for the first time after a 7-5 4-6 8-6 win over Paula Badosa, who had a big issue with the umpire.

In a topsy-turvy match which had 15 breaks of serve, Zidansek looked nervy early on and was broken twice by the Spaniard – but the world number 85 fought back and went on to claim another inspired win.

Badosa was left unsettled during a changeover after a fiery exchange with umpire Carlos Ramos. She was given an informal warning for, in his view, receiving coaching from up in the stands.

Roland-Garros

Zidansek through to French Open semis after thrilling win over Badosa

4 HOURS AGO

It was an accusation from Ramos which she strongly disputed, and her side of the conversation at the changeover was as follows:

  • “I did nothing!
  • “No, what are you talking about? I’m watching at him [her coach].
  • “What are you talking about? Why do you invent?
  • “I don’t know…
  • “What are you saying, dude?
  • “I’m watching at him [the coach].”

The momentum was now with the Spaniard and she broke again before holding her serve to level the match.

In a tense decider, Badosa began well and broke Zidansek in the opening game and then held her serve.

‘It was really tough’ – Zidansek reacts to beating Badosa in thriller

Both players then held their serve for the next seven games before Zidansek seized two match points and took the second win to seal her place in the semi-finals.

Zidansek will now take on Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who overcame Elena Rybakina in a similarly dramatic and extended match shortly afterwards.

‘That was impeding!’ – Was this unfair from Pavlyuchenkova against Rybakina?

Watch all the action from the 2021 French Open live on Eurosport, Eurosport.co.uk and the Eurosport app with 13-time champion Rafael Nadal eyeing a remarkable 14th title at his favourite event and 2020 Roland Garros sensation Iga Swiatek aiming to replicate her stunning triumph.

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'It means an awful lot to me' – Nadal meets his statue at Roland Garros

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