All-time tennis great Rafael Nadal will meet generational rival Novak Djokovic in the French Open quarterfinals after beating Felix Auger Aliassime in a five-set thriller on Sunday.
The Spaniard dropped a set to his French-Canadian foe before taking a 2-1 lead in the fourth-round tie.
After Aliassime took the fourth set 6-3 to push the game to the limit, Nadal sealed his continuation in his most successful Grand Slam by also winning 6-3 to prevail three sets to two overall.
The victory achieved in four hours and 22 minutes means Nadal is now 109-3 at Roland Garros, and he also set up a potential derby against defending 2021 champion Djokovic on Tuesday after the Serb beat Diego Schwartzman.
13-time champion Rafael Nadal survives an incredible 4h22 battle against Felix Auger-Aliassime, beating the Canadian 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 to reach the quarterfinals in #Roland Garros for the sixteenth time. He will face #1 and defending champion Novak Djokovic, who is also playing a 16-hour RG QF. pic.twitter.com/tDEeyXXT5U
— Jose Morgado (@josemorgado) May 29, 2022
In his post-match interview, Nadal said that the “incredible” atmosphere in the “the most important court for me in my entire career” had taken out “many emotions” in the.
Describing his opponent as one of the best players in the world, Nadal confessed that he did not start the match well, which made the first set difficult.
“He has a great serve and I couldn’t push him back.” Nadal said. «[But] In the end I was able to go to the end and that makes the difference.”
As for Djokovic, Nadal commented: “Here we are, we are at Roland Garros, and I am going to give my best, I can guarantee that.”
Nadal capped off an excellent weekend with his victory, which also meant a trip to the Parc des Princes on Saturday night to watch his favorite football team, Real Madrid, beat Liverpool 1-0 in the final of the Champions League.
Like Los Blancos, Nadal is also looking to secure his 14th Roland Garros title and also take two off Djokovic in the all-time Grand Slam wins race by posting a 22-20 record.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.