French Open: Rafa sets up Djokovic clash after epic win

The two champions will meet for the 10th time at Roland Garros and 59th time overall in a rivalry stretching back to 2006



By AP

Published: Sun 29 May 2022, 11:16 PM

Rafael Nadal set up a blockbuster French Open quarterfinal against world number one Novak Djokovic on Sunday when he defeated Felix Auger-Aliassime in a five-set fourth round epic.

Nadal, the 13-time champion at Roland Garros and holder of a record 21 Grand Slam titles, triumphed over the Canadian 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 in a match which lasted four hours and 21 minutes.

It was only the third time in his 17-year, 111-match career in Paris that Nadal had been stretched to five sets.

Nadal and Djokovic will meet for the 10th time at Roland Garros and 59th time overall in a rivalry stretching back to 2006.

Earlier, Djokovic showed glimpses of his brilliant best to demolish Diego Schwartzman 6-1 6-3 6-3 on Sunday.

The world number one’s pace was too much for Argentine Schwartzman, who barely threatened despite enjoying a 3-0 lead in the second set.

From then on it was a one-way street for Serbian Djokovic, who won 12 of the remaining 15 games on a chilly Court Suzanne Lenglen.

“I have a lot of respect for him. He’s good guy on and off the court and he’s a claycourt specialist so it’s not easy especially in slow conditions today with a ball that was not bouncing high,” said Djokovic of Schwartzman, a semifinalist at Roland Garros in 2020.

“I found the good serves at the right moments.”

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