The Serb, bidding for his 19th Grand Slam title, was forced to dig deep to hold back the resurgent Baretini, eventually winning 6-3 6-2 6-7 (5) 7-5.
The match seemed like a formality for Djokovic, who swept through the first two sets, but Berretini came together in the third to give an exciting conclusion to the quarterfinals, which even saw the world number one suffer cuts on his hands after a dramatic fall.
Both players also had to struggle with a break in the middle of the fourth set with supporters obliged to leave according to Covid-19 curfew in Paris.
A group of fans remained seated and shouted the instructions, forcing both players to leave the court until the stadium was empty.
Despite the distraction, the fiery Djokovic took advantage of a third match point in the fourth set, provoking celebrations with wild eyes aimed at his box.
“This match had everything: falls, crowds, rest,”
“It was great, super stressful to be under constant pressure […] the reaction in the end was just me to release that tension that had been building up throughout the game. “
Djokovic will now face Rafael Nadal on Friday for a place in the Roland Garros final. The pair have enjoyed intense rivalry throughout their careers, with Djokovic leading directly 29-28.
However, Nadal is dominant in clay and won his 13th French Open title last October, defeating Djokovic in the final.
“It’s not like any other game. Let’s face it, this is the biggest challenge you can play on clay against Nadal on this court. It doesn’t get any bigger than that,” Djokovic said after winning his quarter-final.
“There is this extra tension and expectations. The vibrations are different when walking on the court with him. But that’s why our rivalry is historic, I think about this sport.
“I’m confident. I believe I can win, otherwise I wouldn’t be here. Let’s have a great battle.”